No matter what type of business you run, safety is always a priority. However, when it comes to managing a warehouse there are extra precautions which must be taken simply because of all the inherent ‘dangers’ you may encounter. From operating forklifts to lifting heavy loads and working your way around an assortment of obstacles, there is always something that could cause a problem if you haven’t taken proper precautions. The following tips are by no means inclusive of all safety concerns, but are some of the most likely to cause serious problems if left unheeded.
1) Keep All Floors and Walkways Clean and Clutter-free
Quite often the smallest piece of something on the floor can be the ultimate cause of a serious accident. When carrying heavy loads, to be stocked on shelves for example, it is almost impossible to look down to see if anything is obstructing your path. Of course this brings up another issue which is a common problem. According to OSHA, when operating machinery or carrying heavy loads, you are not supposed to carry anything large enough to obstruct your view. Even so, floors and walkways should be kept free from clutter and cleaned regularly.
2) Make Sure All Markings Are in Place and Visible
From markings on loading docks to taped heights on walls, it is regulation to have certain areas clearly marked. One marking which many warehouses and trucking companies can get slack on if not careful is the yellow markings along edges of ramps to clearly delineate where the edge is to prevent slipping or driving (a forklift) off the sides. Whether marking safe heights for stacking boxes or marking areas to prevent falling off the loading dock or from a ramp, it is vital to regularly check to make sure the tape or paint is intact.
3) Pay Special Attention to Loading Docks
Loading docks are one of the places where accidents can happen quite quickly if safety isn’t of prime importance. Heavy loads are moved on and off a truck and even though there are yard ramps rated for the appropriate load in place, if the dock worker isn’t careful it is possible to sustain serious injuries. As mentioned, ramps should be marked along the edges in bright yellow to prevent falls from the edges and they should be inspected regularly to make sure they are in good repair.
4) Utilize Floor Matting Wherever Necessary
Non-skid floor matting is of vital importance where there is a potential to slip on floors. Quite often these are employed on the dock and throughout the warehouse where foodstuffs can drip and/or leak. Spills should be cleaned immediately in any case, but with a heavy rubber non-slip floor mat, you are afforded that extra bit of protection. These should be hosed down at least once daily and left to dry before being placed back on the work floor if at all possible.
5) Initial and Ongoing Training per OSHA Requirements
Since OSHA regulates safety in warehouses, it is essential that the employer trains all warehouse workers according to their standards. In fact, it is the law. Not only should employers meet their legal obligations to train workers in the safe handling and operating of equipment and in the safe practices of working in a warehouse setting, but ongoing training can keep safety procedures fresh along the way.
No matter what kind of business you operate, always keep safety in mind. However, when you operate a warehouse it is vital that you learn safe procedures to prevent accidents that can result in serious injuries. Keep your employees safe and on the job by following these safety tips and learning others along the way.