Warehouse Safety: Protect Your Employees while Maximizing Efficiency

One of the most important aspects of any business is safety.  This is especially important in a warehouse where many things can go wrong and result in injury.  There are hundreds of thousands of people who work in warehouses, and because of the number of different hazards found in this work environment, they are at a higher risk of injury than those who work in many other industries.

Fortunately, there are a number of different things that can be done to protect them, while making sure your warehouse continues to run optimally.

Make Your Warehouse Ergonomic

Many employees engage in repetitive motions while working in a warehouse or do work that puts stress on their bodies.  In order to help alleviate this stress, you’ll want to make your warehouse as ergonomic as possible.  Here are several things you can do:

  • Add anti-slip cushioned floor mats around workstations to help employees who stand for long hours. These mats relieve some of the stress on knees, ankles, and shins.
  • Make sure the lighting is adequate. Employees who work in areas with poor lighting often experience headaches and tend to make more errors.
  • Lifting heavy objects from the floor is one of the main causes of injury. To prevent this, use tables and other storage solutions that reduce lifting directly from the floor.
  • Provide mechanical lifting equipment for heavy loads so employees don’t have to lift them manually.

Forklift Safety

Forklifts are used in many warehouses to move large, heavy pallets.  However, they can also be dangerous.  Employees need to follow all safety guidelines when operating a forklift.

There are a few other things you can do to make forklifts safer to use in your warehouse:

  • Make certain everyone who drives a forklift has been trained in how to operate one. Never let anyone who is under 18 years old operate a forklift.
  • Keep your forklifts properly maintained.
  • Stress that all aisles be kept free of clutter when forklifts are in use.
  • Make certain your aisles are large enough for forklifts to operate comfortably. Forklifts should not be used in aisles that are too small.
  • Also check your ventilation system. Forklifts that run on gasoline emit fumes and carbon monoxide that can build up in a warehouse without proper ventilation.
  • Provide all employees with the proper safety gear for use when operating a forklift.
  • Do not allow employees to get away with racing forklifts or doing anything else that could be dangerous.
  • When driving on yard ramps, always be aware of the edges.

Keep the Warehouse Clean and Organized

Many warehouse accidents come from a cluttered, unorganized work area, and most are truly accidents—an employee trips over a loose cord or bumps into something.  An organized warehouse can help greatly reduce the number of accidents:

  • Keep power cords and hoses wrapped up when not in use, and try to keep them from trailing across walkways. Use cord covers if they must go across open areas to both keep employees from tripping and to protect the cables.
  • Clean up any spills right away, especially chemical spills.
  • Keep the temperature set at a comfortable level or provide employees with water and a comfortable break room. Discuss best work practices with employees who must work in hot or cold areas.

What are some ways you keep your warehouse safe?  What tends to be the biggest obstacle in creating a safe environment? 

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