Tips for Distribution Center Safety

Distribution Center Safety

Distribution center safety is one of those topics that tends to stimulate some hardcore eye-rolling. But, with accident rates increasing at distribution centers in the past five years, it’s that 500-pound gorilla in the room that must be discussed and improved upon.

When more employees or distribution center visitors are injured by workplace accidents, a few things happen.

For starters, the insurance rates skyrocket. Then, you can go ahead and couple that with inevitable increased operational costs to further throw a companies budget out of whack. And to remedy it, there may be a few changes in management. 

And that is just one scenario where a basic concept like safety can quickly escalate and spiral out of control!

A distribution center is a bustling hub of activity. Forklifts operate around the clock while dock workers are frequently pulling pallet jacks. And the warehouse inventory employees seem to dodge them all while they’re focused at completing their own tasks. 

The good news is that most of the issues that may occur are 100% preventable.

So, today we want to break down a few tips that may help you reduce accidents and injuries on the distribution center floor.

Let's jump in!

(please look both ways before jumping, though.)


Take Distribution Center Safety Seriously

It shouldn’t take an accident or workplace fatality for people to take the threats of accidents in the workplace seriously.

But sadly, it often does. The first thing that distribution center leadership members can do to reduce accidents is to make safety a priority.

Not only does it need to be a priority, but it should be put into practice daily. 


Invest in Hydration

Accidents happen year-round. They are by no means limited to happening only during calm seasons and fair weather.

One of the seasons that actually contribute to an increase in workplace accidents is summer.

In most cases, this is a dehydration issue. Lack of regular water intake can cause dizziness, light-headedness, loss of concentration, and poor decision-making skill. It’s important for distribution center leadership to invest in proper hydration platforms or stations in their facilities.

Distribution center managers should also provide access and permit employees to keep a water bottle in their work area to maintain hydration throughout the day. 


Improve Workplace Education for New Employees

One constant reality of distribution facilities is that employee turnaround is high. Whether they seek employment elsewhere or advance through the employment chain, new employees are commonplace at distribution centers. 

It might seem tempting to accelerate the new employees training process, but this can increase the potential for accidents. This factor doubles when facing the summer heat as mentioned previously.

Instead, take time to improve new employee safety training.


Properly Secure Open Dock Doors

Did you know that in 2018 alone, 600 people have been critically injured by falling from an open dock door? The truth is that an open dock door is just an accident waiting to happen.

We all know how tempting it is to leave a dock door open while trucks are moved and stationed, just don't do it. it’s more important to secure these doors to prevent an accident. Here are a few easy tips to consider:


Install a safety chain on each dock

Anytime a dock is not occupied by a trailer, a simple chain across the open dock will alert people to avoid that area. In most cases, this is enough to keep most people away from the area.


Paint the dock floor & hang signs

Place warning indicators on the floor of all docks and warning signs on the walls. These will alert people to the potential of accidents occurring from being too close to an open dock door. Yes, this really does work. 


Close the doors

In most cases, the dock door is left open to increase airflow inside the facility. This is an okay practice most of the time.

However, installing a mesh screen that allows the door to remain open while keeping people from simply walking or falling out of the open door. 


Invest in Forklift Maintenance

Another leading cause of warehouse accidents is a forklift that has broken unexpectedly.

Whether it’s a hydraulic leak or another mechanical component, most forklift-related accidents can be avoided by drivers simply being aware. Additionally, regularly scheduled maintenance routines should be completed on time.  Over time, stress on forklift components increase.

It’s always best to follow the forklift manufacturer recommended guidelines for routine service. It can literally save a life!


Final Thoughts

Still need a little help putting a safety plan into action? Reach out to our team here at Redwood Loigistics and let the professionals help you get started off on the right foot!