Employee safety is essential to warehouse productivity and upholding the values of the company. With warehouse injuries rising, it is very important for employers to make sure they are staying up to date on training and finding ways to reduce warehouse related injuries. On average, there are over 34,000 non-serious forklift injuries and over 61,000 serious forklift injuries per year in the United States. This is due to the fact that many people are not being properly trained on how to operate a forklift, and warehouse hazards only intensify the probability of there being an accident. Here are ten ways for employers to improve overall warehouse safety:
Keep warehouse floors clear of debris, garbage, and all obstacles; Keep the aisles clear at all times.
Floors should be clear of anything that can pose a potential risk; this includes extension cords, loose wires, trash, hoses, etc. These items can cause harm and potential danger to the machines and also employees.
Inspect often for floor damage and rack damage; Repair immediately.
Uneven, rough floors that are not paved or smooth can damage machine tires. Tire damage can prevent operators from properly loading and unloading equipment, or cause materials to fall off the machines and cause further damage.
Set reasonable deadlines for employees to avoid time pressures that may lead to unsafe practices or substandard work that can cause any accidents.
Extreme time pressure can cause more harm than good to companies. Overworking employees and creating stressful environments can lead to physical stress, less productivity, and serious injuries.
Recertify your forklift operators with updated training every three years per OSHA guidelines. Have panels, meetings, and training every year to discuss more effective and safer practices for forklift operators.
An effective way to minimize potential forklift-related injuries is to constantly train and evaluate all forklift operators. Those who know how to properly handle and operate forklifts, combined with town hall meetings, will ensure that operators are following safety procedures and reducing risks.
Constantly have maintenance checks on forklifts and other machinery for repairs, damages, and updates.
Newer versions of forklifts are equipped with safety features that alert operators on battery life, and needed repairs. Constant inspection of these safety features will keep injury rates low.
Ensure that PPE and other safety equipment is being used at all times while on the production floor and in the warehouse.
PPE is very important when it comes to handling equipment or other hazardous material. Equipment such as hard hats, special glasses, and gloves are some appropriate personal protective equipment to use when handling dangerous materials.
Use crash barriers and pedestrian barriers on the production floor. Crash barriers help to create traffic lanes specifically for the machinery and act as a barrier between the machines and the workers. The pedestrian barriers do the same as the crash barrier by preventing forklifts to come in contact with employees.
Crash barriers, pedestrian barriers, and guard rails are provided to protect employees from interacting with forklifts and other machinery. These barriers keep machines in their traffic areas to prevent collisions.
Clearly label hazardous zones and proper signage throughout the warehouse.
Proper signage throughout the facility is a great way to inform employees about potential hazards. All hazardous materials need to be properly labeled and identified, and loading zones should be clearly marked and sectioned off.
Ensure that work stations are being kept clean and free of litter.
Accumulation of litter can cause falls, trips, chemical spills, and jeopardize someone’s safety. Implement better cleaning standards for all your employees to follow to avoid these potential risks.
Implement training sessions for all employees that focus on innovation and safety. Take employee suggestions on how to improve overall employee safety in the warehouse.
New employees are not the only ones who can benefit from training. Training can help employers assess their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and improve the safety of the facility. Train employees on potential risks, ways to avoid these risks, and tips to improve current practices. Make sure this is documented and signed by employees to hold them accountable.