How to Create a Safe Environment for your Warehouse Workers
Warehouses are among the riskier workplaces because of the high-powered vehicles and machinery operating within close proximity of each other. They report thousands of injuries and deaths every year due to accidents caused by hazardous materials, slips and falls, and equipment malfunction, among others. Therefore, it is vital to make warehouse safety your utmost priority to ensure the safety of your workers. A safe warehousing environment will also ensure efficient operation, minimise injuries and damage, and maximise the productivity of your workforce.
Establishing safety procedures in your warehouse is essential to prevent workplace accidents and injuries, and promote a good safety culture. You should design the procedures in a manner that they start from the top-down, building important safety values into your culture. We’ve prepared useful tips to help you get started when putting together a plan for a safe warehouse environment for your workforce. Please read on.
Safety Information Resources
It’s important that your workforce is properly trained and aware of all the proper procedures. Ensure to provide many opportunities for them to be exposed to safety information resources such as safety training, regular meetings, safety stickers, and signage. Signs and stickers in strategic places throughout the warehouse. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ensure compliance with relevant social distancing UK guidelines from the government and health bodies to enhance the safety of your workers and clients.
You may also consider preparing a handbook that includes all safety procedures and deliver it during the safety meetings or to each worker via email or newsletters. Encourage them to take safety courses by giving them leaves or offering the courses on behalf of the company.
Storage and Organisation Standards
Trip hazards and unclear walkways can cause accidents that could result in injuries and even deaths. Ensure all walkways are clear of materials, equipment, and loose cables, and that spills are dried as soon as possible. Maintain organised workspaces and ensure there are no obstructions in the way of workers and moving vehicles and forklifts. Establish safe practices for loading, unloading, stacking, and storing products and equipment. Ensure walkways and storage areas with high-stacked shelves are stacked properly and not overstacked. You can consider establishing proper stacking procedures and setting height limits to prevent injuries from falling objects.
A general daily protocol can help establish and maintain a strong safety culture. This could include reporting in, cleaning and preparing the workspace, checking the necessary equipment, collecting safety equipment, and later closing down. Making this a habit can promote safety awareness, responsibility, and accountability of your workforce. Find ways to incentivise your workforce and make safety part of their daily life. Make safety a concern that all workers take seriously. You may give bonuses for exemplary safety behaviours, recognise employees of the month, and promote those who show superior safety techniques.
If you have heavy machinery in your warehouse with potentially dangerous moving parts and hazardous energy and materials, it’s vital to establish a safe lockout/tagout procedure to be followed. This will allow the technicians and workers involved with the maintenance to follow the exact protocol and carry out the process safely. Ensure only properly trained and competent workers and technicians are allowed to conduct the lockout/tagout procedures. All the affected staff should also be notified about any machine scheduled for downtime or maintenance and no one should operate on it until the maintenance is over.