Warehouses are prone to various safety hazards. So as a warehouse manager, safety is a critical aspect of your job description. Whether you work at a desk or move from place to place in a large facility, you’re responsible for keeping all personnel and equipment safe.
In this post, we will look at some of the essential safety practices you can enforce in your warehouse. The following safety protocols can help improve security in the workplace and reduce the risk of financial and life loss.
But first, let’s address one very important question –
Why is Warehouse Safety Important?
Your warehouse is a crucial component of your business. After all, it’s a safe place to store your goods. But more importantly, it needs to be a safe place for your employees to work in.
Any company that doesn’t prioritize safety within their warehouse puts their employees’ health and lives at risk. This can create a bad reputation and loss of quality workers. More importantly, the business is in danger of encountering legal action and fines.
Ways to Improve Safety within Your Warehouse
1. Provide Protective Gear
One of the primary responsibilities of every employee in a warehouse is to wear protective clothing. Typically, warehouse staff must use PPE (personal protective equipment), such as steel-toed boots, hard hats, gloves, vests, etc.
Protective gear is your first line of defense against unfortunate events. It can protect the body from falling objects.
Another way to enhance employee safety is to ensure they wear tight-fitting clothes. This prevents the clothes from getting caught in pallets and machines.
2. Ensure Work Area is Well-Maintained and Clear
A clean workspace is an essential ingredient of warehouse safety. Keeping the floors and aisles clear of inventory, litter, wires, etc., can help eliminate slips and falls. Besides, an orderly work area facilitates employee productivity and allows easy access to stock.
But generally speaking, you should check the floors for cracks and pits. Employees can stumble, or equipment can topple on uneven surfaces. This can cause severe injuries to personnel or damage machinery and inventory.
3. Educate About Warehouse Processes
Employees need to be aware of operational procedures within the facility. This means they need to know how to load and unload inventory safely, what is going on in a certain area, and what is expected of them.
For instance, loading and unloading docks are the hub of activity. Since there is a lot of heavy lifting and movement going on in this place, all employees should be aware of standard operational procedures. This ensures the area remains safe and efficient.
4. Teach Security Protocols
While you may work hard to eliminate dangers in the work environment, accidents can happen without warning. An easy way to prepare for these unforeseen circumstances is to keep all warehouse employees up to date with the latest safety protocols. The best way to do that is to provide training sessions at the time of onboarding. All staff members are aware of safety procedures from the get-go.
However, offering refresher courses about warehouse safety from time to time can ensure that they remember these guidelines and follow them when needed.
5. Practice Drills are Important
While it’s important to teach awareness about overall warehouse safety, your employees should be able to apply the rules appropriately when the time arises. Practice drills can be a valuable addition to your warehouse safety protocol. They ensure your employees are better prepared to handle accidents or evacuate the facility if needed.
6. Inspect Storage Systems Regularly
Shelves and racks are the most important structures in your warehouse. So they’re bound to receive a lot of wear and tear. That’s why it’s necessary to inspect them for signs of damage, dents, missing parts, etc. Similarly, all equipment used in the warehouse should be checked as well, including forklifts, trolleys, carts, monorails, etc.
Schedule regular inspections of the various storage components in your facility. It can help highlight issues early on and circumvent disastrous accidents. Also, make sure to use security carts that are equipped with locking doors to protect your valuable materials.
7. Designated Paths for Forklifts
Forklifts are an essential component in warehouses, so it’s important you create designated pathways for them to operate on. This makes it easier for drivers to move about the facility. Moreover, on-foot workers remain alert when using these pathways.
You can also place warning signs to remind workers of moving machinery. Or you can place concave mirrors at corners to provide better visibility in blind spots so people can see oncoming forklifts.
8. Only Allow Certified Personnel to Use Specialized Equipment
Warehouses are full of machines and movable equipment, some of which are quite technical to use. So it only makes sense to train the worker how to operate specialized warehouse equipment the proper way. For example, only certified forklift drivers should be allowed to drive a forklift.
This not only ensures the safety of the worker using the machine but also protects those around them. Moreover, it prevents your expensive machinery and warehouse property from getting damaged.
Another benefit of certified professionals is that they can guarantee better security in the workspace and more efficiency during operations. They can complete warehouse processes without hindrances.
9. Understand Maximum Warehouse Capacity
Warehouses may look huge, but they have a limit. They can only store a certain amount of goods within the usable floor space. Therefore, you need to take into consideration the maximum usable storage space of your warehouse and respect its maximum capacity.
For instance, storing merchandise in aisles or places not designated for storage not only hinders the flow of people and machinery but also compromises employee safety. Or storing too much merchandise in order to utilize the vertical space as much as possible can compromise the racks and shelves.
10. Label Hazardous Inventory
Your warehouse no doubt houses a wide range of merchandise. It’s important to identify potential hazards associated with any of the products. Labeling hazardous materials and making proper arrangements to move, store, and ship these items vastly reduce the risks attached to them.
Over to You
Warehouse safety encompasses a lot of aspects, from teaching safety protocols to implementing procedures. But by keeping in mind the tips mentioned above, you can help your organization be safe, successful, and profitable.
Consciously taking steps to maintain warehouse safety can help prevent financial losses and protect your employees. So aim to improve safety standards in your facility and make it more viable in the competitive business landscape.