Every business with a loading dock has to come to terms with the idea of risk. Combine people, heavy objects, exposure to the elements, and moving equipment like forklifts and trucks, and eventually there will be an accident. The important thing, then, is to assess your environment for hazards and then add procedures and safety equipment in as necessary to limit the kinds of circumstances and interactions that might result in accidents.
OSHA defines a hazard as “a condition or set of circumstances that present a potential for harm,” and divides them into two categories: health hazards and safety hazards. While any environment can have health hazards, most warehouse or store managers are more concerned with safety hazards because that is where the liability for accidents lies.
The first step in preventing accidents would be to do a hazard identification exercise. This would involve assessing every part of your business’s operations for potential problems, like a parent with an infant would childproof the house. First you think of all the things that might or could go wrong, and then you create or install policies or equipment to make sure it doesn’t.
According to a 2003 study done by ConocoPhillips Marine in which workplace safety incidents were documented and divided into categories such as at-risk behaviors, near misses, recordable injuries, lost workday cases, and fatalities. The study found that for every fatality that happened in the workplace – a worst case scenario – 300,000 at-risk behaviors had occurred. Reducing the number of at-risk behaviors would necessarily limit the number of worse outcomes like injuries and fatalities, then. It is much simpler to identify risky situations and behaviors than it is to predict which kind of situations might lead to a fatality. That is why a hazard identification is necessary to begin this process.
Beuschel Sales sells a variety of equipment designed to heighten safety and ensure employee and consumer health. Previously we’ve discussed safety at the loading dock, loading dock integrity, the use of ergonomic equipment, and specific kinds of loading dock safety equipment. It’s our job to understand safety risk in a variety of settings and which products are best to mitigate that risk. If you do not know how safe your facility or buildings are, today would be a good day to begin learning. Your employees, your customers, and your profit margins can all be negatively affected by negligence in this area. Call us at Beuschel for any help or guidance you need.