Warehouse Safety Regulations for 2014

Accidents at workplaces across the country happen much too often. This is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is so involved in making sure that companies take every measure necessary to keep employees safe while at work. Warehouses are one of the most common places for workplace injuries to occur and safety regulations are updated each year to keep employees as safe as possible.

To help your business to stay on top of preventing worker injuries, here are some 2014 updates and tips to take note of.

Awareness of Eye Injuries in Warehouses

One of the most common injuries across American workplaces each year is that of an eye injury. That’s why early in 2014 is National Eye Injury Awareness month. Some 300,000 Americans visit emergency rooms each year due to eye injuries suffered at work. For the most part, eye injuries tend to occur at manufacturing, mining and construction sites, according to Manufacturing.net.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — February jobs report, the U.S. added 48,000 jobs in construction, 21,000 jobs in manufacturing and 7,000 in mining in January of 2014 alone. The BLS reports that 40 percent of eye injuries at work happen in the industries of mining, construction and manufacturing. The BLS also reports that nearly 90 percent of eye injuries at work can be avoided by employees wearing simple eye protection while on the job.

Annually, eye injuries cause $300 million in lost productivity, workers’ compensation and medical treatment. Injuries can be as mild as a strain to as severe as permanent vision loss.

Targeting Directive Issued by OSHA for 2014

OSHA has released its targeting directive for 2014, which will direct the enforcement resources of the agency towards workplaces where “the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur,” according to Environmental & Safety Law Update.

The new plan will target non-construction workplaces that employ more than 20 people and are high-hazard. The new program is being launched based on a survey of 80,000 workplaces in the high-hazard group. The industries surveyed included trucking, manufacturing, warehousing, automobiles, air transportation and courier services, poultry products, scrap and waste, construction materials, medical facilities, groceries and department stores.

According to a press release from OSHA, Dr. Davis Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, said, “By focusing our inspection resources on employers in high hazard industries who endanger their employees, we can prevent injuries and illnesses and save lives.”

With the new program, OSHA will select 1,260 workplaces at random to perform a survey in order to determine if the enforcement is working properly.

How to Stay Safe in Warehouses

This might seem obvious to some, but knowing how to stay safe in a warehouse can help to limit or even eliminate the number of workplace injuries that occur each year. All packing stations should have non-slip mats at them, heavy loads should be moved using machinery and not personnel and overhead lighting should be effective enough to prevent employees from straining their eyes.

When running power cords across a floor, make sure they are covered with heavy-duty cord covers or are tapped down to the floor. You can also put a sign near them warning of the cord. All spills and liquids should be cleaned up immediately and the warehouse should be well-ventilated at all times.

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