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Warehouse Safety Solutions

Warehouse managers are laser-focused on preserving and protecting their inventory. Keeping mass quantities of valuable products safe, free from deterioration, and readily available for picking and shipping are the primary purposes of a warehouse. But keeping products protected isn’t the only safety issue at warehouses. As it turns out, warehouses are also hazardous for workers.

Warehouse workers face hazards throughout their shifts. Examples include:

  • Crowded floors and items out of place that cause trips and falls.
  • Poor storage methods that result in falling items that injure workers.
  • Heavy loads and repetitive motions that lead to harmful physical strain.
  • Forklift mishaps that are dangerous to drivers and other employees.
  • Unsteady or unsafe climbing or height work that results in falls.
  • Misuse of heavy machinery that creates dangerous conditions.

Accidents are common in warehouses. Wise warehouse managers are unrelenting in eliminating hazards and maintaining a safe environment for the products and the workers under their care. Let’s take a closer look at examples of strategies and warehouse safety solutions that effectively keep employees out of danger.

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Clear, visible signs and labels communicate critical safety information to your crew. They help your employees know how to keep themselves safe while performing their duties. For example, you can use signs and labels to communicate the following:

  • What materials or products are in a box or crate.
  • Warnings relating to the contents of a box and instructions for how the box should be safely handled.
  • Instructions about how the box should be stored, including directional prompts such as “this end up,” temperature requirements, or other useful warnings.
  • Access restrictions.
  • Smoking and non-smoking areas.
  • Traffic signs that direct forklifts and other machinery and help pedestrians stay clear.
  • Hazardous or flammable material warnings.
  • Exit locations.
  • Directions to emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, emergency phones, and first aid kits.

Everyone in your warehouse will be safer with the help of effective signage.

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Your employees need to be protected from head to toe. The requisite safety equipment will vary depending on your specific circumstances but may include items such as helmets, eye protection, respiratory protection, ear protection, gloves, kneepads, and reinforced shoes. You need to provide the equipment, keep it in tip-top condition, and be strict about requiring it when working.

Ergonomics are also essential for worker safety. Anything you can do to reduce strain and improve comfort will help reduce work-related injuries. Your efforts may include anything from installing impact-absorbing floor mats to changing the layout of a certain area to eliminate repetitive twisting and reaching. When it comes to making work more comfortable, listen to your employees and give them the freedom to ask for help when needed.

Take the time to fully understand the risks associated with your warehouse and define your PPE requirements so that everyone stays safe, healthy, and on the job.

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You also need to equip your warehouse with safety gear such as the following:

  • Guard rails in elevated storage areas are essential to prevent dangerous falls.
  • Anti-slip tape or other traction assists on stairs, ledges, and ramps to minimize the risk of slips and trips.
  • Lockout/tagout systems on equipment to allow the machines to be disabled when not in use to prevent electrocution, misuse, or unwanted access.
  • Multiple first aid kits that are easily accessible, portable, and clearly marked with bold signs to help workers address minor issues quickly. Keep your kits fully stocked and conduct regular checks to look for missing items.
  • Emergency wash stations if your warehouse handles any type of hazardous materials.
  • Traffic mirrors to assist team members see around blind corners.

Make sure you have the safety equipment your warehouse needs to stay compliant, safe, and productive.

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Training your team and then retraining them, again and again, is critical to creating and maintaining a safe workplace for everyone. Insufficient safety training is likely the most significant hazard your team members face. If your employees don’t know how to read the signs you’ve posted, work safely, or use the safety gear they’ve been given, all the steps you’ve taken to provide a safer environment will be for naught.

Here are a few examples of what your training efforts might include:

Heavy Equipment

Heavy equipment operators need to be trained specifically on their machines and hold active licenses or certifications if necessary.

Manual Lifting and Handling

Train your team on the proper methods for lifting and moving loads. Provide regular instruction on safe, ergonomic movements and postures and how to recognize personal limitations before an injury occurs. Emphasize the importance of warming up before work and taking time to recover after work to combat fatigue.

Hazardous Materials

Train your team on identifying chemical hazards and techniques for their proper handling, storage, and disposal. Training also needs to include the use of appropriate PPE and how to respond in case of an emergency.

Fire

Suppose you have all the necessary alarms, extinguishers, and sprinklers in place, but your people don’t know how to use them or respond appropriately in the event of an emergency. In that case, no amount of equipment will be sufficient. Regular training ensures that employees have reliable, practical information about fire safety that can keep them safe if the unthinkable happens.

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Improving warehouse safety is all about consistent actions across the entire warehouse operation. Safety doesn’t stop at your safety committee; everyone in the warehouse needs to be actively engaged in safety efforts, including heeding safety signs, wearing PPE, working ergonomically, and participating in regular safety training exercises.

If you’re ready to take warehouse safety to the next level, Indoff is here to help. Contact a local representative today to discuss a safety “toolbox” that will help you build a safety culture from the ground up. Our team can help with it all, including:

  • PPE compliance
  • Warehouse safety signage
  • Safety equipment for handling and storing hazardous materials
  • Forklift safety
  • Safety standards for working at heights
  • Fire safety
  • Training tools
  • And so much more

If you’ve got questions about how implementing safety measures will boost your productivity and bottom line, talk to a warehouse safety specialist at Indoff. Find the workplace safety strategies and solutions you need with the help of Indoff. We’re ready to learn about your operation and business goals and get you on track to a healthier, safer workplace.

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Jim joined Indoff in 1988 after spending 5 years at Ernst & Young, where he specialized in audit and accounting for privately-held businesses. Jim is responsible for the day-to-day management of Indoff.

Phone: (314) 997-1122 ext. 1203
jim.malkus@indoff.com

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John’s background includes the start up and acquisition of several successful business ventures, and he provides strategic planning and overall corporate governance.

Phone: (314) 997-1122 ext. 1201
john.ross@indoff.com