September 30, 2014 | Industry Insights

Workers’ Compensation: Making Warehouse Safety A Priority

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Workers’ Compensation: Making Warehouse Safety A Priority

Workers’ Compensation insurance is a significant expense for all businesses, including warehouse operators storing cargo for third parties.  While the frequency and severity of workplace accidents for this sector is not at the level as some others (construction, for example), a series of even minor incidents can still seriously injure employees and lead to lost productivity, higher insurance bills, and government (OSHA) fines. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the warehousing and storage industry experiences nearly 15,000 injuries and illnesses annually. The primary cause of injuries taking place in a warehouse stems from slips, trips and falls; ergonomic-related pains such as lifting, reaching, pulling and pushing; and material handling incidents such as dropped boxes and forklift accidents.

To help keep costs down and prevent accidents, having warehouse safety as a top priority is paramount. This means managers and workers pulling together to spot dangerous practices and plan ways to eliminate threats. This involves fostering a culture of safety throughout the organization in which all company employees see safety as their responsibility and part of the company’s core values.

Key to establishing a safety culture is stressing worker training and establishing best practices and procedures. This involves forming a safety committee if one doesn’t already exist to implement enhanced safety procedures. Safety committee members are typically selected from specific organizational groups—including warehouse floor workers, shift supervisors, and department managers. This approach gives everyone a voice, but keeps the committee’s size to an effective number of participants. Also important is establishing regular safety meetings that typically include all floor employees, as well as a management representative, to ensure that key issues are addressed.

While OSHA compliance is required, warehouse operations should also view the federal agency’s safety regulations as benchmarks to exceed when setting up procedures. To discover whether exceeding OSHA requirements in a particular area is a good idea, safety committees should identify weaknesses in current practices. In addition, warehouse operators should analyze the reason for past accidents rather than just documenting their outcome. Managers should also stress the importance of taking immediate action whenever a safety hazard is identified.

Roanoke Trade provides a portfolio of business insurance solutions to transportation and logistic service providers including warehouse operators. A component of our insurance program is Workers’ Compensation, which also includes facilitating the establishment of an accident investigation program, safety programs, and more to help mitigate on-the-job accidents and injuries and get employees back to work as soon as possible. Contact our Roanoke professionals at 1.800.ROANOKE for more information about our insurance products and bond solutions.

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