When running a business that involves managing a warehouse, it can feel overwhelming when attempting to manage both the day-to-day operations of the business as well as keep your warehouse a safe and efficient workspace. This guide to warehouse safety best practices will help you and your employees navigate through the pallet racking and heavy duty shelving as safely as possible in order to maintain an efficient output.
1. Protective gear
Always make sure that anyone on the floor of the warehouse is wearing proper protective clothing. Depending on the warehouse and the goods being stored, this can include gloves, hard hats, belts, vests, masks, eyewear, and appropriate footwear for their respective duties and the environment in which an employee is working.
2. Aisle safety
If your warehouse has many aisles that are used both for pedestrian movement and moving goods around the space, putting proper etiquette in place can help prevent any future accidents from occurring. Train and frequently remind your employees to think of the warehouse aisles the same way they would treat a busy street or intersection: Make sure to look both ways before crossing and remember to stay alert when going around corners. Place signs or paint stripes on the floor to indicate if the area is dedicated to pedestrian or vehicle traffic.
3. Keep the warehouse clean
Cleanliness can go a long way when it comes to increasing both efficiency and safety. First, ensure that all aisles and walkways are clear of any debris or possible trip hazards. Taping down power cords and hoses can make a large difference in cleanliness and accident avoidance. Anti-slip materials (such as tape, rugs, or paint) on the floor of the aisles can prevent accidents from happening too often. A clear floor should be maintained at all times. Make sure to have an efficient cleaning system in place for if any messes occur.
4. Visible warning signage
Loading docks are another place where accidents can happen. Utilize warning signs and bright colored tape to mark the edges of the docks to avoid any problems with lack of visuals for where employees should and should not stand or put merchandise.
5. Employee training
During the onboarding process for warehouse employees, it is crucial for them to undergo rigorous safety training in warehouse best practices. In addition to their initial training, regular refresher sessions should be offered through continuing education programs. Employees need to be aware of who is certified and able to head projects that involve heavy lifting, as well as who can lead any projects that may involve hazardous materials.
6. Maintaining equipment
Heads of warehouse operations should establish a concrete plan of action for when equipment malfunctions or breaks down. There should be a thoroughly documented maintenance schedule for all warehouse equipment to ensure that both machines and machine guards are functioning in the correct capacity. Create a culture where employees feel comfortable immediately reporting any damage they see to their supervisor. Inspecting pallets and racking systems regularly will also assist in determining when it might be time to order new heavy duty shelving and other material handling supplies from Shelving + Racking Systems, Inc.
7. Installing safety barriers
Safety gates and barriers can also be very helpful in creating a safer warehouse environment. They are very useful when directing forklift traffic and pedestrian traffic at the same time and can be used to create designated routes of highest efficiency or safety throughout the warehouse space. Experts recommend that these barriers be a neon color to make them as visible as possible.
Keeping your warehouse safe is a paramount concern when running a business that utilizes warehouse space. However, by cultivating and encouraging a culture of safety and caution, fewer accidents will occur, and your work environment will be secure and efficient as well.
Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. stocks a wide range of warehouse safety equipment such as guard rails, bollards, and safety netting. Please call 1-800-589-7225 (RACK) to speak with a member of our team if you have any warehouse shelving and racking safety concerns.