The warehouse is a key part of every business. It is the heart of your company because it is the storage and the distribution center. A warehouse is a highly busy environment filled with forklifts, heights, large boxes, and heavy equipment.
With all of these in one place, maintaining a safe warehouse is essential. Unfortunately, accidents do happen once in a while leading to injuries and even fatalities. Some of these accidents can be avoided if the warehouse safety is improved.
If your business works in a warehouse, there are certain things you should do to stay safe. Click here for some tips on how to have a safer warehouse.
- Keep the Warehouse Organized and Clean
In a busy warehouse, goods could get moved in and out throughout the day. This can create a messy environment where workers must carefully find their way through empty packages, ropes, wires, and associated materials spread all over the floor. This poses a great danger.
A warehouse should be organized such that there are clear routes to be followed by all workers, and the floor needs to be clean and free from anything that can cause an accident through slip and fall or entanglement.
- Be Prepared for Weather Changes
As the weather keeps changing, ensure you provide your employees with clothing that are comfortable. For example, in cold weather, they will need warm clothes, while during the summer they will need light clothes to prevent heatstroke.
Proper ventilation is very crucial for a safer warehouse. Unfortunately, many employers overlook it. If workers are in a warehouse without proper ventilation, they may end up developing health problems. Ensure your warehouse is well ventilated to keep your employees healthy.
- Shelving Safety
If your warehouse has shelves, ensure all employees know how to place boxes on them. They should know how much weight a given rack can support and how the weight gets distributed to prevent the shelves from collapsing.
The shelves should also be arranged such that there is enough space between them and the boxes. This allows easy access when needed.
Encourage employees to avoid shortcuts, since there’s a possibility that they can cause an entire rack to collapse or cause boxes to fall on workers who are nearby.
- Ensure Safe Forklift Operation
Forklifts are among the main causes of accidents in warehouses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that forklifts cause about 100 deaths and 95,000 injuries every year.
The common causes of these accidents include running over other workers, running into shelves, and improper loading. To prevent these accidents you should ensure all workers get forklift training and that only trained and certified workers operate the forklifts. You should also protect your racking system by installing bumpers at the end of the aisles.
- Improve Employee Ergonomics
Mentally and physically strained employees are more prone to mistakes that result in injuries. The straining can be as a result of poor working methods. You can improve the efficiency of your employees by training them on workplace practices and then providing them with the right tools for every job.
For example, you can train your employees on proper ways of lifting and carrying loads, and also on the proper use of items like flatbeds, ladders, and similar equipment. This kind of training will reduce cases of pulled muscles, sprains, strains, and many other forms of injury.
- Retraining and Refreshing
At the time of hiring, your employees must have undergone some training on the operations of your business. But after a while, they may have forgotten what they learned or things might have changed. That’s why you should organize for refresher training for all your employees.
It is also important to have the warehousing safety standards written and posted in a public place where everyone can see them. This will help your employees to be conscious of the safety policies. Also, any time you bring new equipment or you adopt new technology, you’ll have to train your employees on how to handle them.
- Keep Loading Docks Safe
Many accidents occur on the loading docks because they are high-traffic areas. These are the places where cargo, employees, and heavy vehicles interact and there is a high possibility that some collision can take place.
There’s also a possibility of employees falling if they are too focused on their work to notice where the edge of the dock is. To prevent this, you can place a brightly colored tape along the edge of the dock. Also, ensure that dock ladders and stairs have handrails, dock plates are well secured, weight capacities are respected, and forklifts are not allowed anywhere near the edge of the dock.
- Keep Equipment Well-Maintained
When a machine malfunctions in a warehouse, it can cause an accident which can result in injuries. For example, a forklift that has malfunctioned can overturn and crush those who are nearby. It can also damage goods or other machines and equipment. It is necessary to carry out frequent inspection of all the machines and equipment used in the warehouse to ensure they are always in good condition.
Not only big machines and equipment but even small devices like computers also need proper maintenance. That is because there are some computerized machines that can cause accidents if they get wrong commands from computers.
Safer Warehouse Requires Safety Sweeps
The above safety tips may not be useful if you don’t have procedures in place to ensure every employee follows them. You should conduct safety sweeps periodically, daily, weekly, or monthly to check for potential hazards and ensure you follow the safety standards.
Additionally, you should have a checklist to assess whether floors are free of slip hazards, corners have clear visibility, loading bay doors are clear, the machines have been checked, etc.
Those in charge of conducting safety sweeps should be able to identify potential sources of accidents and initiate corrective measures. If you want a safer warehouse to ensure that all standards stipulated by OSHA are adhered to. For more innovative warehouse tips and techniques that could help boost your business, keep browsing our blog.