According to the EHS Daily Advisor, in 2016, the incidence rate of nonfatal injuries among workers in warehouse and storage facilities was 5 per 100 full-time workers, while the all-industry average was 3.2 per 100 workers. However, there has been a consistent decrease in the number of workplace fatalities for warehouse workers since then.
In response to this data, warehouse and storage facility owners and managers are scrutinizing their safety guidelines and adopting stricter standards to ensure the safety of their employees. Enhancing safety measures at your facility will not only give you and your workers peace of mind, but also reduce workers’ compensation claims and establish your business as one that prioritizes a culture of safety.
If you’re interested in enhancing warehouse safety at your facility, here are tips to consider.
Invest in the Right Safety Equipment.
Just as you wouldn’t allow your child to ride their bike without a helmet, you shouldn’t be comfortable with your workers in the warehouse without the proper safety gear. Depending on the unique space and workers’ duties, gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats should be worn by workers in a warehouse or storage facility, and sturdy, closed-toe shoes should be always mandatory.
To ensure that workers have the necessary safety gear, consider having extra equipment available in case someone forgets or loses an item. This will also come in handy if a worker’s gear is damaged during their workday. Additionally, place signage at entrances, locker rooms, and bathrooms as a reminder to workers to wear their safety equipment.
Use Appropriate Signage Wherever Possible.
Signage can serve several purposes in enhancing warehouse safety practices. Aside from reminding employees to wear their safety gear, signs can also caution them about potential hazards. Consider using signs to designate areas used for storing dangerous equipment or hazardous materials. You can even install automated safety doors with signage that specifies who can access them and how.
Temporary hazards such as wet floors or equipment transfers can also be highlighted through signs. Marking the floor with tape or painted stripes can alert workers to be mindful of their surroundings.
Posting your warehouse rules for employees in visible areas throughout the facility, such as break rooms, kitchens, and offices, is also recommended. This way, employees will always be reminded of the rules.
Using the appropriate signage not only provides peace of mind, but also ensures OSHA compliance. OSHA requires safety signs in many cases, so be sure to confirm which signs are necessary for your specific circumstances.
Routinely Inspect for and Eliminate Unnecessary Hazards.
Working in a warehouse involves inherent risks that are unique and necessary to the environment and business. However, there are also preventable risks that can be eliminated through routine safety checks.
To minimize unnecessary safety hazards, make sure to keep floors clear of loose cords, stray liquids, and other potential dangers. Conduct regular inspections to identify cracks and pits in the floor, which can cause slips and trips. If there’s a tripping hazard that can’t be eliminated, put up a warning sign. For common slipping concerns, consider investing in slip-resistant flooring to help prevent accidents and injuries.
Use Safety Barriers.
Using safety barriers is an effective way to reduce risks, particularly in loading dock areas. A barrier provides a clear visual signal to workers that a dock is open but no trailer is present. For maximum visibility, it’s recommended that these barriers be bright yellow, which is an internationally recognized colour symbolizing “warning” or “danger.”
There are various barrier options to choose from, including guardrails, bollards, and dock barricades. If you’re concerned about the inconvenience of moving barriers in a busy environment, consider investing in barriers that are designed to be quickly removed and installed. Additionally, it’s important to consider whether the barrier you choose can support the weight of a loaded forklift, depending on your specific needs.
Provide Employee Training on Warehouse Safety.
To promote warehouse safety, it’s important to ensure that all employees receive proper training on the risks present in the warehouse environment and how to mitigate them. This includes understanding signage, knowing when and how to move safety barriers, and knowing what to do in case of an accident. It’s also essential that workers receive specialized training to safely operate machinery and equipment required for their job.
Encourage workers to communicate effectively by calling out their location and alerting colleagues when moving heavy items or driving machinery. This can help prevent accidents and ensure that everyone can safely perform their duties.
While providing thorough training during onboarding is important, offering regular refresher courses throughout the year is equally crucial. If any changes are made to the warehouse layout or processes, it’s important to hold training sessions immediately to keep everyone informed and up-to-date. Finally, promoting a culture of mindfulness and awareness can help ensure that everyone prioritizes safety in the workplace.
Protect Your Business.
Public liability insurance is a crucial component of any warehouse or storage facility’s risk management strategy. This type of insurance provides coverage if a third party, such as a customer or visitor, is injured on your premises or their property is damaged. Without adequate coverage, the financial impact of a liability claim could be devastating to your business. With public liability insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that your business is protected in the event of an accident or injury. It’s important to review your policy regularly to ensure that you have the appropriate coverage for your business needs.
In conclusion, ensuring warehouse safety is crucial for both the well-being of employees and the success of a business. By implementing simple measures such as providing appropriate safety gear, using signage to warn of potential hazards, and carrying out routine safety checks, the risk of accidents and injuries can be significantly reduced. Investing in safety barriers, offering thorough employee training, and having adequate public liability insurance are all essential components of a comprehensive risk management strategy. By prioritizing a culture of safety and taking proactive measures to mitigate risks, businesses can create a safe and productive work environment for their employees while protecting their bottom line.