Safer Warehousing: OSHA's National Emphasis Program and How You Can Prepare

Workers standing in large, clean warehouse

Due to injury rates that are nearly double the national average and the growing number of employees, warehousing and distribution center operations have caught the attention of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). As a result, on July 13, 2023, OSHA implemented the 3-year National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Warehousing and Distribution Center Operations.

This NEP focuses on warehousing and distribution center operations, mail/postal processing and distribution centers, parcel delivery/courier services, and certain high injury rate retail establishments. For the NAICS numbers included in this program, refer to the first resource link below. Regardless of whether your business is directly involved in this NEP, now is an opportune time to review your policies, training, and employee compliance in these critical safety areas.

The hazards specifically targeted include:

  • Slips, Trips & Falls
  • Material Handling
  • Walking Working Surfaces
  • Struck-By
  • Caught-in
  • Powered Industrial Vehicles
  • Fire Protection

Additionally, heat and ergonomic hazards will be considered under this NEP, and if either is present, a health inspection will be opened.

As a MEMIC Safety Management Consultant, I have observed that a significant number of injuries result from slips, trips, and falls, as well as manual material handling/ergonomic hazards, making these two topics an excellent starting point.

Maintaining clear and clean floors can prevent falls on the same level. Additionally, reviewing ladder, stair, and dock safety protocols can prevent falls from heights.

The primary function of a warehouse is to move products into storage and out for delivery or use. This process often involves lifting heavy items and repetitive motions that can lead to significant musculoskeletal injuries. Exploring opportunities to limit load weight, acquiring automated or lifting assist equipment, and implementing job rotation can help mitigate these ergonomic hazards.

If you're interested in delving deeper into warehouse safety and discovering ways to ensure the safety of your employees, I invite MEMIC policy holders to join us for our Warehouse Safety & OSHA National Emphasis Program webinar at 10 am EST on Wednesday, July 17, 2024. You can register for the webinar here: Warehouse Safety & OSHA National Emphasis Program - MEMIC

And don't forget, your MEMIC Safety Consultant is always ready to assist with any of your safety needs.

Make use of the resources below to evaluate and reinforce your ongoing safety efforts.