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Improving warehouse employee safety

May 28, 2019

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Employee safety should be at the forefront of any business plan. Your employees are what make you successful, they are the lifeblood of any and every company. Keeping them safe is quite literally the least you can do. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, understand that your reputation will sink if word comes out that you don’t care about employee safety. Furthermore, you stand a risk of getting sued by an employee, or fined by a government authority. So, if you want to improve employee safety at your warehouse, just read the article below to find out exactly what you need to do.

A clean warehouse

Warehouses aren’t exactly known for their cleanliness. These are rough areas, with constant spills, slips, drains, and debris. You have a variety of products and goods being handle at all times, most often transported by machinery of all kinds. This will invariably lead to a dirty environment. However the issue here is not the hygiene of the matter as much as the risk. Namely, an employee can be in the middle of handling very heavy items or crates when they slip and fall over. This can lead to severe injuries.

You also have debris which can pose a tripping hazard, as well as cause problems for things like forklifts and automatic transportation units. And of course, spilt toxic chemicals create their own very varied and specific type of trouble.
For all the reasons above you should get as much cleaning done in your warehouse as possible. Furthermore, a nice benefit is that it will increase employee motivation, and lead to the creation of a generally more positive atmosphere.

Get the right equipment

Another important aspect of keeping your people safe is getting the right equipment. You want machinery that you know will reason to employee input. Old machines, forklifts, conveyor belts, and the like are hazardous in that they can break at any moment. This is a safety risk both in terms of parts flying out in various directions, and in that they fall apart at inopportune moments. The last thing you need is an employee driving a forklift, carrying several hundred pounds of cargo, only to have the rails snap and catapult the man forward.

Another aspect of getting the right equipment is simply getting the newest gear. Most of the time, modern equipment means focusing on safety. You can also invest in advanced versions of equipment that protects your people. For example, having things like an electric bin tipper is great since they often have safety features, like added guards. Some (like the aforementioned tipper) is set up in such a way as to prevent the operator from accessing any moving parts. You can also find some equipment that can be accessed remotely.

Finally, you also need to get the right protective equipment in general. Things like rails, handles, ladders, guards, protective goggles… Depending on the type of goods and cargo you handle, you want to get the appropriate gear.

Proper training

Training your people the right way is also important for keeping the warehouse safe. Providing them with the right classes, seminars, manuals, guides, and training sessions will ensure that they know how to use the equipment they have the right way. Furthermore, you should have them educated and trained regarding what to do in crisis situations. An employee who knows exactly what to do during an emergency can save a life.

Furthermore, they should be made aware of the type of issues that can happen. Being knowledgeable about the possible dangers that can happen to them in the warehouse, understanding how to avoid these, and how to handle them if they do occur.

Warehouse set up

Setting up the warehouse in the proper manner means making it easy for your employees to stay safe. For example, keeping clear indicators, signs, and tracks all around the place will keep your people’s attention spans of the sings and onto the lanes and aisles. Work hazard zones, wet floors, and danger areas all should be marked appropriately.

Next, you want barriers and fences placed all around the warehouse. Have strong rails placed on your walkways, don’t leave things to chance.

Also try to keep your aisles the right width and length. While a trained forklift operator should know how to handle tight corners, doing it too often is bound to lead him to make a mistake. Have some leeway, allow for some breathing room.

Conclusion

Keeping your people safe is a matter of training, proper equipment, and warehouse logistics. You want your people to know what to do in crisis situations. Furthermore, you want them what common problems to avoid, problems that can lead to injury. Having a clean warehouse minimizes the risk of injury, of slips and falls. And of course, setting up your warehouses the right way, with proper signs and markings, with the right rails and barriers, will keep your people safe as well.