As more and more consumers turn to online retailers for everything from underwear to big-screen TVs, giant warehouses and distribution centers are becoming integral to our economy.
Working in a warehouse can be dangerous. From dealing with large, heavy items on shelves high in the air to maneuvering around forklifts and other equipment, warehouse workers always need to remain alert and cautious.
Employers need to have a safety culture that is instilled in everyone who steps into a warehouse. This includes proper training, safety gear and equipment and attention to keeping unnecessary hazards, like spills and debris, off the floor. Employees also need to feel free to report potential safety issues without fear of retaliation.
If you work in a warehouse, you can also do your part to help ensure your safety — and that of others. This includes things like the following:
- Don’t use a new piece of equipment until you’ve been properly trained on it.
- Put on all of your safety gear before you go out on the floor.
- Don’t lift heavy items until/unless you’ve been trained on the proper way to do it. If you need a lifting belt or other safety gear, be sure to ask for that.
- Be aware of your surroundings, whether you’re operating a piece of equipment or others are operating it around you. Watch out when going around corners.
- Make sure you stay hydrated. Warehouses can get extremely hot. Be sure you get all the breaks you’re entitled to and that you always have water handy.
- If you operate machinery, be careful not to take any medication before your shift that could impact your alertness.
- If you see any unsafe conditions or any problems with equipment or tools, report them immediately to your supervisor.
If you suffer an injury, be sure that you get the workers’ compensation benefits that you’re entitled to. If your employer created or allowed an unsafe situation that caused your injury, you might also be able to pursue a claim against them. An experienced attorney can answer your questions and help you protect your rights.