Health and Safety Tips for Warehouse Operators
If you are a warehouse operator, you are single-handedly responsible for the safety of everyone and everything in your warehouse. Health and safety can be quite simple if you know what you are doing, so make sure you are covering all your bases so that you aren’t losing people or products to accidents on your watch. The following tips will help you make sure that you are on the right track.
There are three main types of hazards that commonly pose health and safety risks in warehouses, so make sure your workers know the following rules regarding hazards.
Spills: If anything is spilled it must be cleaned up immediately, and if you have to leave to get cleaning supplies, have someone else watch the mess area and warn co-workers. Slipping on an unattended spill can lead to very serious injuries.
Obstacles: If you need to have items in an area where they don’t belong, use signs and markers so that everyone can see that there is something that they need to watch out for; otherwise, no one will expect the obstacle to be there.
Chemicals: If your warehouse has any hazardous chemicals or materials in it, keep them in a designated area away from the general work area, and only have properly trained workers involved in handling them.
If your warehouse has heavy items that need to be moved by hand, make sure that any such items are clearly labelled, so that they don’t come as a surprise to unsuspecting warehouse workers. Really heavy items should only ever be lifted by forklift, and if items need to be moved manually, make sure no one is left to lift heavy items alone.
Obviously the only people who should be using a forklift in your warehouse are those trained and qualified to do so, so if you need more drivers, pay to send some of your workers to be trained. Enforce a forklift speed limit of 5 km/h to avoid unnecessary accidents, and you can even have protective barriers put on poles and shelving supports to prevent anything from being knocked down. Driving a forklift can be fun, so make sure your workers are taking it seriously rather than hooning around.
The way that you store your products and equipment has a big impact on the safety of your warehouse, so make sure that you have the best possible storage solutions so that there is less chance of your workers being injured. Pallet racking is becoming one of the more popular types of shelving systems, and a great way to store both empty and full pallets. Pallet racking allows you to quickly clear an area after a big delivery has turned up and safely store products or pallets, making way for regular work to continue safely and unhindered.
The most important way to ensure the safety of people in your warehouse is to make sure everyone has at least some basic level of safety training. If everyone knows the safest ways to do things in your warehouse there is a far smaller chance of accidents taking place. Even if you have contract staff just for the day, make sure they get a safety briefing before they enter the warehouse.
Make sure that you have enough safety gear for everyone working in your warehouse, and make it mandatory for people to use it. It’s not “tough” to go without safety gear; it’s stupid, so force your workers to be as well protected as possible. Additionally, make sure you have a good first aid supply so that if anyone does injure themselves they can be patched up and assisted quickly and effectively.