For businesses dealing with constant product replenishment, picking and shipping, and product movement, warehouse labor safety should be top of mind. In a distribution center, warehouse, or e-commerce fulfillment center, there is a lot of opportunity for accidents and injuries. To mitigate this risk, consider the different ways that you can streamline operations and improve workflow. Open communication with daily workers and safety training for your labor force is also a crucial component. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed a short pocket safety guide for warehouse workers. We outlined some key solutions to warehouse hazards to be aware of. However, refer to the full guide to optimize operations and ensure warehouse safety.
Tip #1: Conduct a Hazard Site Assessment
First things first. According to OSHA, your management of warehouse operations team should conduct a site hazard assessment. This will help to determine what personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn by assessing the everyday hazards present in your facilities. Then, after the assessment, your management staff can train warehouse employees on proper PPE selection, use, and maintenance.
In addition to figuring out the right types of PPE for your labor force, you will also use the information from this assessment to develop two important safety plans: an emergency plan and a lockout/tagout program.
- An emergency plan describes what is expected of your labor force in the event of an unexpected emergency. It should include details about exit location and evacuation procedures, procedures for accounting for employees, and location and use of fire extinguishers and other emergency equipment.
- A lockout or tag out program prevents equipment from being accidentally energized and injuring your employees. Lockout procedures should be trained to all employees to ensure the safety of their co-workers.
Tip #2: Utilize Many Methods of Hazard Communication
As we mentioned, communication is key. Specifically, if your workforce is handling hazardous equipment or materials, such as chemicals, it is even more important. In these instances, maintain a Material Safety Data Sheet. It will detail the chemicals in your warehouse. Additionally, provide spill clean-up kits, have a written spill control plan, and provide proper PPE. In short, the dangers of everyday warehouse operations are increased exponentially with the presence of hazardous chemicals. Signage, training, and open communication are the best ways to alleviate the risk.
Tip #3: Consider Materials Storage Methods
There are many ways to store your product. Are you taking advantage of all of them? Are you utilizing every inch of space? To optimize your space and ensure the safety of your workers, you should answer “yes” to these questions. So, this means utilizing vertical space by installing mezzanines, as well as assessing aisle width and product volume in your facilities. After completing an audit of your space utilization and optimizing your warehouse workflow, simpler storage safety rules apply. This includes:
- Stack product loads evenly and straight.
- Place your heaviest product loads on the bottom or middle shelves.
- Workers should remove one object at a time.
- Keep your aisles clear and passageways in good repair.
In addition, you should also think about your equipment while considering storage. Make sure your employees are trained to use a forklift, that the machinery is in top shape, and safety procedures are followed.
Tip #4: Conduct Continuous Employee Training
This is the most simple tip and yet, it is likely the most important. Did you know that more than 145,000 people work in over 7,000 warehouses in the United States? As a top business in this warehousing industry, taking pride in your workforce is synonymous with prioritizing continuous safety training for employees.
First, make sure your warehouse management is constantly reviewing safety procedures and processes. Inquire for their opinions about PPE, training with heavy machinery, your emergency and lockout plans, and any other daily procedure at your facilities. As your eyes on the ground, your management staff is first in line to provide you with the insight you need to guarantee your warehouse labor safety.
With their opinions taken into account, your management staff is more likely to promote daily safety in your warehouse and conduct the necessary regular employee training.
Guarantee Warehouse Safety with Specialized Storage
Ensuring warehouse labor safety guarantees the health of your staff and the longevity of your business in this everchanging market. Using the safety tricks outlined above, you can be sure your business continues to satisfy customers and your bottom line continues to grow. After employing these safety principles in your facilities, find the right storage partner to bolster your efforts. With the right warehouse storage partner, you can optimize the efficiency of your business even more. Thus, our experts can assess your warehouse space while learning about your business’s unique needs, and generate a unique warehouse layout design tailored specifically to maximize your operations. So, if you want to learn more about our custom warehouse storage solutions, contact our team today!