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Jul 07, 2018

6 Steps to Safer Warehouse | Inventory Management | Articles

Learn 6 Ways to Make Your Warehouse Safer, Get Ideas For Getting Your Employees Onboard With Your Safety Initiatives, and more!

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No matter what you store in your warehouse, or the kind of activity taking place on a regular basis, it’s a breeding ground for accidents. Back injuries from lifting heavy objects, slips and falls, objects falling from tall shelves, and 2 person collisions, are unfortunately common occurrences.

The most frequent mishaps are slips and falls that often could have been avoided. So, just in case you thought your warehouse full of pillows, was by default, safer than most, think again. Put a group of people in a large room who are engaged in activity and any number of random accidents have potential.  The first step is identifying what accidents have potential in your warehouse and then taking action to prevent them.

Here are 6 ways you can be proactive in your warehouse and prevent the majority of accidents before they happen.

The Letter Start at ground level by ensuring each and every employee has had proper training in warehouse safety.

Make it mandatory for them to complete a designated training before letting them loose on the warehouse floor where they could be a danger to themselves or other employees.

Consider making it a requirement to complete a test after the training to ensure they listen to the information presented. Your employees will only take safety as seriously as you do and maybe a little less. Let them know you are serious about safety. Be consistent in your effort to enforce your standards.

The Letter Add hardhats and safety glasses or gloves, if necessary, to the list of proper attire for all staff who step foot on the warehouse floor.

This is especially true if they handle hazardous chemicals or any other element that poses a threat. Practice strict adherence to this standard so that your employees know you mean business. This includes you. Set a good example for your staff to follow.

Pay close attention to individuals who lift items themselves in an effort to save time, instead of using the tools provided (ex. a forklift). Be sure they understand why these tools exist, and the benefits of their use. Remind them that using the forklift will preserve their body as they age with less discomfort and problems down the road. It may be more effective then the perceived occurrence of an injury lifting it just this one time. Both are equally eminent if the pattern continues. Make sure it doesn’t.

The Letter Frequent walk-thrus of each aisle or zone will ensure you are providing a well lit area for your employees to work in.

Replace any bulbs that are burned out immediately and be sure all lights are turned on during working hours.

The Letter Emphasize the importance of your safety rules frequently.

Post them on a wall somewhere in the warehouse in large type so they are visible from a distance. Provide an open door policy for your employees to report suspicious or unsafe activity they witness immediately and anonomously. This will help to keep everyones eyes on the ball at all times. Get your staff onboard with your safety initiatives and you’ve just increased the safety of your warehouse 10 fold.

The Letter Take a course in safety and know the state laws for operating a safe warehouse.

Be sure you are up to code before an inspector makes a visit to your warehouse unexpectedly. Worse, an injury of an employee could find you in a legal battle that could have been prevented.

The Letter You may be surprised to learn that slips and falls are the most common cause of injury in a warehouse.

Keep the floors free of debris, liquids, or any stray material that could cause someone to trip and fall. Be sure new employees understand the best type of shoes to wear while working and encourage them to keep an eye out for any debris or wet areas of the floor.

The 3P's to Warehouse Safety

Pre-plan

It’s only natural to take off in search of a mop or towel to clean up the mess you’ve just spotted. It isn’t until someone slips and falls in the interim, when you realize the necessity of having a designated plan of action. Your “MO” should include a detailed, step by step, that outlines the proper way of handling these and many other situations in the warehouse. A good mantra might be “Never leave a safety hazard unattended” Lay out a step by step plan for managing a floor spill, for handling eye contamination, for changing light bulbs, for visits from the safety inspector, and more. The more knowledge you provide your staff with, the safer your warehouse will be.

Provide

Post safety signage throughout various areas of the warehouse as a continual reminder for your staff. Be sure to include any signage required by law, especially if you handle biohazards or run heavy equipment. Follow the links below to find out what the safety signage requirements are.

Provide large screens that project picking and inventory management related details from orders output by your inventory management system. By promoting efficiency you are also greatly reducing the opportunity for an accident to occur.

Use thick rubber mats in any areas where employees stand for long periods of time. This will greatly reduce and/or prevent injuries and discomfort that is common from standing on hard surfaces.  Fulfillment areas, picking zones, or Q and A designated areas are all possible zones where improving the conditions is a worthwhile consideration. Thick rubber mats help prevent lower back issues by taking some of the pressure off the spine while standing.

Promote

The key to a safer warehouse isn’t creating a bunch of strict guidelines but rather enforcing them. It’s also the hardest part of your job. You have to find a way to get everyone on board with your safety initiatives. Use your creativity to devise a contest that gets everyone involved and rewards those who demonstrate accurate safety procedures each week or month. Express your gratitude with a reward and recognition.

 

Visit these Helpful Links for Information on Safety Signage

US Dept of Labor Signage Regulations

New OSHA/ANSI Signage Requirements

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