Prioritizing Warehouse Safety

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  1. Keep the warehouse clean, neat, and organized. Aisles and walkways should be free of spills and debris. Do not allow boxes or merchandise to be left in walkways where people might trip. Mark all pedestrian walkways, vehicle lanes, and inclines with highly visible floor markings.
    • Make sure to keep cables or suspended equipment from hanging over pedestrian walkways or vehicle lanes.
    • Take advantage of wall space to add storage lockers or hooks.
    • Manage cords on the floor with tape, or cover them with cord covers.
  2. Make sure all areas are properly lit. Bright lights will promote alertness and workplace safety by keeping your employees awake and aware of their surroundings. Make sure light bulbs are replaced immediately when they go out and that there are no dark areas in the warehouse.
  3. Train employees on general warehouse safety practices. All warehouse employees should attend training on warehouse safety standards and confirm in writing that they have received adequate training. Many injuries arise from improper material handling, so your safety program should place a heavy focus on the proper ways to pick up, reach for, and carry heavy objects. You should also include a section on loading-dock safety, including limiting the height of stacked pallets and keeping the dock area free of obstructions.
    • You may wish to develop a safety program specifically tailored to your company. Work with human resources to develop training materials.
    • Consider online training, which may allow you to archive training materials (videos and print-outs) so they can be viewed many times.
  4. Make sure employees that use mechanical equipment are properly trained. An employee operating warehouse equipment — forklifts, mechanical loaders, electric stackers, lifters, shrink wrappers, etc. — must be fully trained in their use and certified if necessary.
    • Make sure these employees are trained to identify hazards, respond to them quickly, follow safety protocols, and take special care in the loading-dock area.
    • If certification is required to operate vehicles or equipment (such as a forklift), you must verify that employees have received this training.
  5. Enforce safety regulations. Such rules are designed to avoid employee injuries that could deprive you of skilled labor. Enforce safety regulations by placing reminder signs where appropriate and punishing employees seen regularly disregarding safety rules. Do not make exceptions for anyone violating the rules.
    • Educate your employees on appropriate protective gear such as hard hats, steel-toed boots, safety goggles, and heavy gloves.
    • Make sure forklift or other machinery operators are properly trained to use only designated lanes when moving such equipment around the warehouse.
  6. 6 Do regular safety checks. Make sure everything is up-to-date. Plan regular vehicle, machinery, equipment and loading-dock examinations and maintenance in order to keep them in proper working order.
    • Report, replace or repair any damaged or missing safety features. Lights, reverse sensors, and warning signals should be tested on vehicles.
    • Test repaired equipment to make sure it is safe before returning it to the warehouse floor.
    • Immediately attend to any reported safety hazards.

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