If you think running your warehousing business is hard, think about what it’s like for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They’re tasked with making sure every worker in the country, warehouse or otherwise, is as safe as possible. It’s a tough job, and one that can cause a lot of sleepless nights.
OSHA accomplishes their goals by creating rules and regulations and issuing safety guidance for employers and employees alike, inspecting workplaces for violations, and then handing out fines when they find something wrong.
If you’re looking for some OSHA warehouse insights to stay safe, avoid fines, and keep your workers healthy, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s Not All Just Carrot and Stick
As an industry watchdog, OSHA isn’t just concerned with safety regulation enforcement and fining those who have been found to be in violation of those regulations. To be fair, a lot of what OSHA does absolutely falls into that whole “carrot and stick” approach, but that’s not all they do.
In fact, OSHA’s overall goal and mission is to assure the health and safety of American workers – and preventing injuries from happening in the first place is always preferable to fining a company in the wake of one.
This means that anything that reduces workplace injury is worthwhile in OSHA’s rulebook. As a result, training and education have always been major components of OSHA’s mission. This includes training and certification to ensure that warehouse workers have the necessary skills and expertise needed to operate heavy machinery such as forklifts in a safe manner, learn how to stack pallets carefully so that they don’t trip and fall, and other general safety knowledge that’s applicable to many work sectors, not just warehousing.
OSHA Warehouse Rules Don’t Come Out of Nowhere
There’s often a sentiment among warehouse management and workers that safety watchdogs like OSHA don’t know what they’re doing and are just good at laying down red tape. Regulations are often seen as a hurdle to be cleared, or sometimes circumvented, and, unsurprisingly, it’s the disregard for OSHA rules that often leads to the very incidents and injuries that these rules were put in place to prevent!
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that safety rules and regulations don’t come out of nowhere. In comparison, many of them are figuratively written in blood, often in the wake of an incident that led to injuries that could have been avoided if there were regulatory processes in place.
This is something to remember the next time you feel like grousing about an OSHA regulation that you need to comply with, even though it might feel like an unnecessary step or an inconvenience. Better annoyed than injured, and better alive than not – that’s the impetus behind these rules.
Not Perfect, But the Best We’ve Got
As an organization, is OSHA perfect? Of course not. It’s a human institution, and humans make mistakes. Some OSHA rules and regulations seem backwards or wrongheaded, and there may even be times when these requirements might be counterproductive.
But the majority of OSHA warehouse rules are set in place because they’re the best way to keep workers safe while on the job. OSHA will always act to sacrifice productivity, convenience, and even profitability on the altar of safety, and the sooner you realize that, the better.