Warehouse Safety Guidelines

Warehouse Safety Guidelines: How to keep your workplace safe

Ensuring a warehouse is a safe environment is not difficult if some standard rules are followed and the benefits can be significant.

A well-designed warehouse safety program will produce impressive outcomes. Sound safety practices that promote overall safety can lead to higher employee satisfaction, lower absenteeism due to injury, increased productivity and overall worker ease.

Here are a few safety guidelines to help keep your warehouse safe:

1. Audit and Improve Safety Equipment at All Times

Appropriate eyewear and hard hats should also be worn when required. Emergency exits should be clearly marked with signage. Sprinkler systems should be inspected and maintained properly. And sprinkler systems in the ceiling of the facility should not be blocked at any time. Eyewash stations should be install as required. First aid kits should be visible and stocked. Ensure you are also protect rack from collisions. Install safety products like Dock Gap Guards.

2. Eliminate Any Potential Safety Hazards

Warehouse floors should be clean and free of hazards. It should be disinfected regularly. Use a disinfectant fogger. A safety audit should be is carried out on a regular basis. If spills or debris is found it should be cleaned as soon as possible. Cracks and pits in the flooring must be repaired. Failure to do so can result in serious injuries to employees, as well as causing damage to machinery.

3. Hazardous Zones and Safety Pathways Should Be Clearly Marked

Heavy equipment should be stored in an area that is clearly marked. Safe walkways should be visible to pedestrians. Maintain the necessary signage. Mark safe transit areas for pedestrians with tape or black and white painted stripes on the floor. Visitors to the facility should be briefed before they are allowed to enter.

4. Promote Safe Lifting Techniques

Transit with a lifted load requires a route check before movement occurs to ensure no obstacles are in the way. Ensure space is available in aisles and at the load’s destination. Forklift safety programs should be in place with all driver training up to date. Safe lifting techniques should always be administered. The lifter should ensure that their view is not obstructed by a load. Material handling trucks and pallet jacks should be used as designed and within on load tolerances. Approved operating procedures should be followed. Unauthorized and untrained personnel should never drive a forklift or other powered equipment.

5. Training Your Staff

Ensure all staff are educated and up to date with knowledge about safe practices within the workplace. This allows for greater adherence to procedures as staff members will be completely aware of the consequences that can emanate from an unsafe workplace. Accidents most commonly occur when corners are cut in an attempt to save time. If staff and management are completely aware of the repercussions that can arise from this fact, procedures may be followed more closely.

6. Train to Ensure Awareness on the Job

Train your staff to ensure they use awareness techniques in the workplace. Create a rule set to standardize communication. This includes vocal cues for alerts and also acknowledgment of movement and other hazardous action. A solid policy that is followed by all workers will reduce the chance of collisions. All workers should be trained to be aware of what’s around them, use communication practices, and follow all safety procedures.

7. Develop Onboarding Procedures

New employees should be trained on all safety and emergency procedures as soon as they start in your facility. These sessions should be documented and follow-ups and refreshed should be conducted on a regular schedule.

Forklift mishaps and accidents from 2017

A variety of forklift mishaps and accidents from 2017

The video above shows the following forklift mishaps and accidents:

00:00 to 00:13 Male and female workers unload a truck with a Raymond pallet jack and dump the load.

00:14 to 00:38 Container lift truck topples over dumping massive port container

00:39 to 00:55 A red Maniscopic telehandler flips over backward beside a busy road.

00:57 to 1:14 An unsecured three wheel forklift in a truck with its gate open flips off the back when the driver of the truck brakes.

1:15 to 1:31 A yellow Komatsu forklift dumps a stack of wrapped boxes on pallets as the driver tries to reaches for the top pallet.

1:31 to 1:49 A yellow Yale forklift truck carries a stack of empty pallets in a yard. The stack is unsteady and dumps off the forks ahead of the lift truck.

1:49 to 2:07 A forklift operator reaching to a third tier of rack to grab a pallet of garden supplies (looks like dir or mulch) drops the load.

2:08 – 2:19 A forklift in a yellow Yale forklift drops a load of palleted water bottles as it attempts to reach them.

2:20 – 2:47 A red Heli truck operator goes into a narrow space to grab a stack of blue plastic containers on a pallet and they dump onto the truck’s cage. Then he backs out.

2:48 – 3:06 A white Komatsu forklift dumps blue cardboard boxes into a dumpster and loses some off the top in the effort.

3:07 – 3:25 A yellow JCB forklift is stuck in the mud in a yard in the UK. He is helped out with a push from another forklift from behind.

3:26 – 3:46 A yellow propane lift truck knocks down a pallet of containers. They hit the ground and break and a white liquid gushes out. Blurry, low quality video.

3:47 – 4:05 Yale forklift reaches for a badly stacked set of empty pallets in on the third tier of racking in a warehouse. He can’t keep them on the forks and they come crashing down.

4:06 – 4:22 A white and red Nissan forklift unloading a flatbed truck causes the badly wrapped boxes of caulking to spill.

4:22 to 4:46 End promo material.

Better warehouse layout means safer work environments

Warehouse safety should be a priorityThere is no mistake that well-designed warehouse layouts create better working conditions. They also promote safer practices. Optimized space is also more productive. This is important for any company that operates one or more warehouses.

Redesign if accident rates are of concern

If a warehouse is experiencing higher than normal accident rates, there is a good chance that the warehouse design needs to be audited by a professional warehouse layout design expert to ensure that:

  • Aisles have enough clearance for pedestrians and forklifts.
  • Materials handling equipment has enough space to operate safely and efficiently.
  • Be sure racking is installed properly. Also, install rack protector products to guard against collisions and unnecessary damage. Do not ignore even small dents.
  • Layout and design experts should be hired to inspect racking. This will ensure rack meets load tolerances with a safety margin.
  • Older and antique equipment should be retired and replaced, even if it is with reconditioned used forklifts.
  • Rack repair should be done regularly. Do this immediately if a collision has occurred. Do not risk a weakened rack system.
  • All employees that use equipment are certified to operate a forklift and fully understand safety practices as set out by OSHA or your country’s governing body.
  • One or more safety officers (usually forklift trainers) need to be assigned to ensure forklift accidents do not happen and that employees comply with safety rules.

Seek a warehouse layout consultant

So if you have a concern about your warehouse design, then you should seek out a consultant like the team at Arbor Materials Handling. If you are an employee, you should alert your manager to your safety concerns.

And so, as a warehouse manager, be sure to make existing layouts available to consultants. They will need to inspect the premises. Also, sit down and review your goals around safety, productivity, inventory and operations.

Finally, your local materials handling dealer may also have a design consultant available to discuss your needs.

10 ways to make a warehouse safer

Simple tips to improve warehouse safety

Here are 10 ways to improve warehouse safety make your operation safer and a more efficient place to work for your staff and visitors.

  1. Keep the warehouse aisles clear at all times. Also keep floors free of debris and garbage. Redesign the warehouse layout to keep up with operational changes
  2. Certify your forklift operators every 3 years as per OSHA guidelines, but review safety in the interim as an ongoing practice to prevent forklift accidents.
  3. Inspect forklifts and their safety features and repair immediately when faults are discovered.
  4. Inspect often for rack damage and repair immediately on discovery.
  5. Keep docks clear of debris. Be sure delivery trucks use backup sensor systems to avoid collisions.
  6. Seek seasoned forklift operators that are interested in becoming forklift trainers and have them certified through forklift train the trainer programs. They will also become your safety watchdogs in the warehouse.
  7. Ensure all staff and pedestrians wear hard hats when in the warehouse. Also make sure forklift operators wear safety harnesses and seatbelts when on the job, and where necessary.
  8. Always be sure to keep work stations clean and free of clutter.
  9. Make sure all floors are swept and nothing restricts walkways.
  10. Productivity in a warehouse is important, but warehouse work is a highly demanding job. Set reasonable time requirements so that time pressures do not cause unsafe practices, or sloppy procedures that cause accidents or mishaps.
  11. Unguarded pinch points on conveyor equipment can lead to injuries. Some can be serious. Ensure your warehouse conveyors and related systems are inspected on a daily basis to ensure that proper maintenance and repairs are implemented.

Warehouse safety resources

Check out these useful warehouse safety resources that you can use to promote safety in your warehouse.

Bombed out of forklift driver’s school

Warehouse Safety Guidelines

Warehouse Safety Guidelines: How to keep your workplace safe Ensuring a warehouse is a safe environment is not difficult if some standard rules are followed and the benefits can be significant. A well-designed warehouse safety program will produce impressive outcomes. Sound safety practices that promote overall safety can lead to higher employee satisfaction, lower absenteeism …