By: Alek Sabin
As of 2011, there are about 150,000 people who work in warehouses in the United States. Although working in a warehouse can be fun and offers the opportunity to move throughout the day, it can also be a dangerous environment if certain precautions aren’t taken. There are several ways that an employer with foresight can prevent injuries from happening to warehouse employees. Here are some safety tips to help facilitate this…
Properly train employees
The old adage “knowledge is power” is absolutely true, and that’s why companies spend millions and millions of dollars every single year to train their employees about safety procedures. You can have all of the safeguards in the world, but if your employees aren’t made aware of particular dangers and how to prevent them, then they won’t do you much good. Ensure that every employee receives thorough safety training, for their benefit, the company’s benefit, and their coworker’s benefit. Make sure that every employee is made aware of changes in safety policy, and work to create an environment where safety is important.
Keep open lanes for movement
Nothing makes a warehouse dangerous like an uncontrollable amount of clutter. A functioning warehouse needs to have open lanes for employees and forklifts to move in. This is an absolute safety essential. By allowing these lanes to be messy and cluttered, you can create an entire host of safety hazards that can cause crashes and injuries. An important part of a warehouse manager’s job is to prevent this from happening. Keeping a clean and neatly organized warehouse is the first part to ensuring this.
Label possible dangers
Although employees may be trained on the dangerous aspects of working in a company warehouse, it is still important to properly label hazards that could cause injury and bodily harm. For one, there will often be more than just employees in your warehouse, and you need to make sure it is visitor friendly (ensure people are equipped with proper safety equipment, such as safety glasses and a hard hat, before entering the warehouse). Aside from that, though, your employees will benefit from a daily reminder of warehouse hazards.
Frequently assess safety
Just because you went through and perfected your safety procedures once, it doesn’t mean that you are done working out safety guidelines. Workplace safety is an ongoing process that frequently needs to be evaluated and adjusted. Make this an important part of your quarterly routine, so that you do not become complacent. A good way to help you do this is to keep up to date on the recent changes with OSHA guidelines, and continue to adhere to those.
Warehouses, due to their size and the amount of objects inside of them, have a huge potential for pests to inhabit them. Certain pests can cause major safety concerns for your business and your employees. Rodents are known to carry diseases that can affect employees, and ruin product. This is also true of many insect pests. Some pests can even be aggressive towards your employees, such as certain breeds of wasps, and especially spiders! This can be incredibly problematic, when it comes to venomous, and potentially life-threatening, insects (here’s an article for more information on how bad spiders can be).
As with any workplace, exits need to be clearly established and entirely functional so that employees can exit the building in the case of an emergency. This is especially true with warehouses, as they often contain heavy machinery or flammable substances that can increase the chances of a fire. In particular, this is why it is very important to have functional garage doors that can be large entrance and exit points to a warehouse, and it is important to keep them in good condition (if you do happen to be having trouble with a garage door, here is a helpful article to help you troubleshoot).
Use proper equipment
Different industries require different equipment. This bit of knowledge may seem like common sense, but it can often be neglected when it comes to the interest of safety. Work warehouses are often full of heavy machinery, forklifts, or even dangerous chemicals. Recognizing the peculiarities of your industry and knowing the type of equipment that is necessary to keep your employees safe is an important part of being a good employer.