Working in a warehouse is rewarding but can come with safety and health risks. Failing to control these risks can lead to underperforming staff, legal issues, and fatalities.
As a business owner or manager, it’s your responsibility to create safety procedures and ensure that every worker follows them. Safety measures protect workers from risk present in the warehouse and make it easier for them to accomplish tasks every day.
Maintain work safety in your warehouse by implementing the tips below:
Commit to Regular Inspections
Avoid being complacent with maintaining your warehouse. Instead, make it a habit to regularly inspect the area to identify problems early.
Regular inspections are crucial in maintaining workplace safety as it gives you the time to look around and call for professionals to prevent issues from getting worse. For example, if you notice inoperative parts on your warehouse’s electrical system, you can call a commercial electrician ahead of time. This prevents downtime and helps control costs.
Additionally, regular inspections enable you to see if your warehouse is evolving. As your business needs change, you should also update your safety procedures to better cater to your operations.
Provide Training and Refresher Courses
Training workers once on the importance of workplace safety isn’t enough. Work strategies evolve, which is why it’s essential to regularly update your workers on safety procedures.
Ensure all workers are provided with training and refresher courses about safe practices for warehouses. This guarantees greater adherence to safety procedures as workers are aware of the consequences of an unsafe workplace.
Accidents and injuries in warehouses usually occur when corners are cut in an attempt to save time and money. Don’t follow this trend; instead, invest in training and refresher courses to ensure procedures are followed consistently at work.
Training plays a vital role in maintaining a safe warehouse but so does regular communication. Everyone at work should communicate no matter the situation.
For instance, rearranging one area of the warehouse or discussing the movements of products should involve communication. Communication should also be present in simple tasks, like ensuring everyone is on the same page at any given time and giving a heads-up when stocks are coming.
Maintaining communication in the warehouse also makes workers feel appreciated, helps them understand their role, and how they can meet expectations at work.
Ensure Proper Ergonomics
Warehouse workers are prone to musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, operators, fabricators, and laborers account for 58% of MSD cases worldwide.
Prioritise ergonomics in the workplace to reduce your workers’ risks of MSDs. One way to achieve this goal is to let your workers use the ideal picking method — whether it may be zone picking, batch picking, or wave picking.
Automating repetitive tasks also lessens health and safety risks to workers and optimises the work done. For example, to reduce ergonomic problems caused by heavy lifting, install collaborative robots. These bots automatically pick and place products in unit loads.
Keep Work Areas Organised
Maintaining work safety doesn’t have to be a complicated process — encouraging workers to maintain a neat and organised work area at all times is enough.
Clutter-free work areas improve productivity and lower the chances of accidents happening around them. Additionally, organised work areas make it easier for workers to find items quickly. This reduces stress and prevents burnout in the long run.
Once workers see the importance of having organised work areas, maintaining a neat warehouse becomes easier. As a result, everyone can function in a safe, more efficient manner.
Wear Proper Work Attire
What workers wear inside the warehouse can significantly impact their productivity and safety. This is the reason why workers should be required to wear protective clothing when working.
For example, workers assigned around heavy machinery should wear steel-toed boots to keep their feet safe. Workers required to store products in high piles should wear a hard hat for protection from falling objects. Those who work around large equipment should wear clothes that fit snugly so it doesn’t get caught in the equipment.
The type of personal protective equipment your workers wear depends on the nature of their work, so research accordingly. Provide the right PPE to ensure that the entire workforce remains safe while working.
Optimise Warehouse Layout
Optimising warehouse layout improves safety and work efficiency. It creates faster shipping times and streamlines your workflow, so workers can do more during the day.
You can implement any of the three warehouse layout designs: U-shaped, I-shaped, or L-shaped. No matter what warehouse layout you choose, prioritise spacing out the loading and unloading areas so trucks can connect and unload products inside the warehouse fast.
It’s also important to separate the reception area from other areas in the warehouse. This is where workers receive products, implement quality control, and sort items, which is why this area should have plenty of space. This prevents bottlenecking and allows accurate product inspections.
Keep Everything Well-Lit
Warehouses that operate for longer hours can accommodate more orders. To ensure that workers remain productive at all hours, every area of the warehouse should be well-lit.
Warehouse lighting is key for workplace safety and employee productivity as it helps workers to see clearly without having to strain their eyesight. This results in fewer mistakes and accidents, which is beneficial for your business in the long run.
Keep your warehouse well-lit by choosing the right lumen output per square foot. If your warehouse handles large items, the ideal lumen output is around 10 lumens per square foot. For warehouses that regularly work with smaller items, the ideal lumen output is around 30 lumens per square foot. In short, smaller products require brighter illumination.
To ensure that your warehouse continues to operate efficiently for years, ensure that it creates a safe working space. Prioritise workplace safety at all times to create highly motivated and productive workers. Over time, this can drive your business to its long-term success!