Fostering Safety in the Warehouse

Over the past few years, the rate of non-fatal injury cases in warehouse positions has steadily increased due to a variety of factors. One of the largest of these factors being the fact that warehouse managers were beginning to focus less on safety measures and more on operating speeds.

As a matter of fact, back in 2016 the EHS Daily Advisor conducted a study for the year that revealed that for every 100 employees, 5 of them reported injury cases. This was at a time in which the industry average was somewhere closer to 3 per 100 employees.

Fast-forward to 2018 and safety issues in the workplace are a hot-topic. Warehouse owners and managers are starting to take a much closer look at their own safety protocols and adopting new standards to help keep their workers safe while at work.

So, if you are one of those managers looking for a way to continue ensuring the safety of your workers, take a look at our top 4 tips for fostering safety in the warehouse…

Invest in the Most Reliable Safety Equipment

Before you can start implementing and promoting safety in the warehouse, you need to invest in all the proper equipment. Do not skimp on this investment as it is going to be of huge benefit in the long-run.

Your workers need to feel comfortable in their work environment, but more importantly they need to actually be well-protected. They need to have all of the proper gear available to them to do their job as safe as possible at all times. Access to gear such as safety glasses, hardhats, steel-toe boots and thick work gloves is absolutely crucial to your workers safety.

And it isn’t really enough to simply get the bare minimum, either. Safety equipment will get damaged over time or possibly get lost, so you should double-up on these things when placing your weekly purchases. And then, try to maintain your supplies as well as possible.

Having these items on-hand at all times also helps to ensure that your employees who forget gear at home always have a backup.

Train Your Employees on Warehouse Safety Issues

Having the safety equipment that you need on-site is great and all, but it does no good if your employees are not trained in how to properly use all of it. More importantly, before they even step foot on the warehouse floor they need to be trained on warehouse safety topics, risks involved, and how they can do their part to mitigate those risks.

These safety topics should include, but are certainly not limited to signage, barriers, how to use various PPE, how to properly use machinery, and so on.

One thing that we highly encourage all warehouses managers to teach their team is how to be vocal while in the warehouse. They should know how to alert their coworkers whenever they are driving heavy machinery, moving pallets, or performing other riskier, yet necessary tasks. This in and of itself can go a long way in helping workers stay out of harm’s way while on the job.

Training your employees during onboarding can get them headed in the right direction before their very first shift.

It is also important to keep in mind that your warehouse space may change a bit over time. There are renovations, increased space, movement of shelving and other specific areas. When this happens, you should host a training course immediately to bring your employees up-to-speed as these things may very well change entire safety processes.

Make use of Safety Barriers

When used properly, safety barriers can, and often do, reduce safety risks and injuries. This is especially true when it comes to your docking areas.

Physical safety barriers are an awesome idea to implement as they are usually rather large or otherwise hard to miss. That is of course unless your employees are not paying attention to their surroundings, in which case, it is time to go back to safety training!

Bright yellow barriers are the ones that work the best, especially in low-visibility areas. The color yellow is used universally as a color that symbolizes a warning, caution, or “danger ahead”.

There are many different types of barriers to choose from and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the options include guardrails that can be permanently installed, concrete barricades, and plastic or metal bollards. Choosing the appropriate barrier will depend highly on what areas of your warehouse need to be outlined or restricted.

Routinely Inspect for and Eliminate Unnecessary Hazards

A large part of safety processes that actually work is the fact that they must be maintained over time and constantly re-implemented.

There is always going to be some sort of risk present in modern-day warehouse environments, there is simply no way to eliminate every issue that may prevent itself.  Safety equipment along with proper training goes a long way, but safety is not a “set it and forget it” sort of ordeal. Quite the contrary.

In addition to our other recommendations, you should also be routinely inspecting your warehouse for potential problems. This means making sure that the floors are clean and dry, hazardous materials are properly labeled, and loose cords are bundled up and put away to prevent a tripping or electrical hazard.

Final Thoughts

By investing in good safety equipment, and educating your employees on their usage, you can foster and even bolster a more aware, more positive work environment where workers feel safe… because they are.

All of the recommendations in this list are just that; recommendations. There should truly be no end to the list of safety protocols that your warehouse observes, and it is up to you to determine what safety processes you can or need to implement in your own warehouse.

If you are having trouble getting a safety process implemented in your warehouse, reach out to us here at Redwood Logistics and let us show you how we can get you started off on the right foot.