It's important to keep safe in a warehouse. Accidents can happen, and it's vital that you do everything in your power to reduce the likelihood of a problem for you or your employees. A safer warehouse means happier staff, more efficient working practices, and a generally more positive environment.
Here are some key tips for how to improve safety in your warehouse, and what you can do to keep your business running smoothly and safely.
Mark out pedestrianised areas
It's crucial that you keep your walking staff separate from vehicles such as forklifts or carriers. Implementing safe routes doesn't have to cost a lot of money, however. Use brightly coloured floor marking tape to designate areas of your warehouse so that pedestrian staff know where vehicles may cross their path. Using tape makes it easy to adapt and change when the layout of your warehouse moves too.
If you need a more structured approach, consider installing guardrails. The rails will slow down your drivers, while also offering added protection for pedestrians.
Follow a routine
Staff that know where they're meant to go - either on foot or via vehicle - typically stay safer. Make sure that no workers are left wandering aimlessly around the warehouse by ensuring that your staff know exactly what they're meant to be doing. Encouraging people to stay in their relevant area is generally safer than leaving people unsure of their tasks.
Keep the warehouse tidy
Clutter and waste in the aisles of your warehouse is unsightly, but it's also potentially highly dangerous. Keep the aisles clear and clean at all times. It reduces the risk of trip or slip hazards, as well as your drivers being distracted by discarded waste.
Use good lighting
Not being able to see clearly can be a huge danger, especially when operating heavy machinery. Ensure that your warehouse is free of gloomy corners or dark aisles. Replace broken lights regularly, and don't be afraid to reassess a situation if certain areas are darker than they should be. Use LED lighting if energy costs are an issue.
Maintain legal requirements
You probably already use high-visibility jackets and hard hats. Make sure they're the brightest colour possible, and replace hats any time they become damaged. Safety signs are also a legal requirement, but make sure you don't use too many in case of distracting your warehouse staff.
There are many operations that take place in a warehouse. Make sure you have written ‘risk assessments’ for all these operations and conduct regular reviews of the resulting working practices and procedures.
Stock up on safety equipment
It's important that your workers have the tools they need to keep safe. Besides having plenty of hi-vis jackets and hard hats, also ensure that steel-toed boots and safety glasses are available in steady supply. Such practices encourage better safety compliance and significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Again, a thorough risk assessment will determine the type of personnel protective equipment that is appropriate for the task in hand.
Have regular training sessions
Communication is a vital skill within any workplace, but it can potentially save lives within a warehouse. Have regular meetings and training sessions to remind your workers of how to keep safe and secure. Ensure health and safety is at the forefront of everyone's minds, and be keen to communicate any new changes that are relevant.
Teach appropriate lifting techniques
For those times when manual lifting is required, ensure your staff are well versed in how to lift carefully. Use handling equipment wherever possible, but still maintain courses and lessons in how to transport equipment or stock safely around the warehouse. Read our guide onhow to handle trolleys safely.
Use a safety checklist
Conduct regular safety checks to ensure that your warehouse is maintained safely. A checklist should be kept near crucial items such as forklifts, mechanical tools, and even hard hats and hi-vis jackets. Set minimum safety requirements to maintain and hopefully exceed. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a print-ready safety checklist.
Conduct regular safety sweeps
Check equipment over regularly to ensure that standards aren't slipping. During a particularly busy period, it's easy for small mistakes to be made, but it’s vital for you to ensure that any safety issues are soon fixed. At the same time, maintain your machines and equipment so that problems don't arise from faulty gear. Keep a register of all work equipment and carry out periodic checks in order to ensure it is present and fit for use.
Lead by example & reward staff for safety compliance
Health and wellbeing can often seem like a box-checking exercise, and may seem dull to some members of staff. But it’s there for a very important reason. And there are ways to make it more engaging. Encourage your employees to work hard at being safety compliant by providing recognition and rewards for high standards of safety.