It seems like every day I see articles reporting accidents, injuries, and even fatalities that happen in the workplace. But how many of these incidents could have been prevented?
Efficiency and safety are clearly major concerns for companies. Nobody wants to make headlines because of negligence or, even more importantly, put their employees and local communities at risk. It’s devastating to those involved, not to mention disruptive and costly.
But, it takes leadership to improve safety. Considering National Forklift Safety Day is on June 12, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to highlight a few areas in the warehouse where you can protect your most valuable assets, your employees, with these practical tips.
- Provide proper forklift training – A well-trained operator is a safer operator, and the same applies to pedestrians in your warehouse. There is now virtual reality training tools that follow the concept of flight simulators to improve the efficacy of training forklift operators. Providing appropriate employee training coupled with lift truck accessories like the blue LED forklift warning light help avoid potential hazards.
- Ensure warehouse efficiency – Remove fatigue and the risk of lower back injury caused by repetitive heavy lifting by providing workers with ergonomic lifting equipment such as robots, lifting tables, carts or conveyors, and you’ll see productivity and job satisfaction rise.
- Secure loading/receiving docks – Warehouse docks are buzzing with activity and can be a dangerous area. An unprotected door could lead to employee, product or equipment falls. Barriers and guards protect workers from unguarded edges. New dock technologies like motion sensors alarms can detect trailers backing into the dock and alert nearby workers with an audible alarm. Hydraulic dock levelers and dock plates reduce dock shock to operators and products caused by gaps and bumps.
- Repair damaged storage systems – Damaged pallet racking caused by forklift impacts is common in warehouses. It’s important to replace or repair a structurally damaged rack quickly to avoid over-stacking product on unstable support. Product should never be placed too close to sprinklers in case of fire or be stacked too heavy for the rack to hold in case of damage. Adding guardrails and end protectors can help prevent impact damage.
- Practice good housekeeping – Enhance everyone’s safety by having clearly-marked, designated pedestrian walkways and installing crash barriers between workers and aisles where forklifts operate. And be sure to quickly clean spills, dust and debris on the floors to prevent slips or falls.
- Schedule equipment maintenance – Don’t let production pressures take priority over daily checks of lift trucks or conducting proper maintenance. Telematics systems can provide prompts for scheduled maintenance, fault code reporting, battery monitoring and other valuable real-time data that will enable your forklifts to be diagnosed and serviced faster. And timely and efficient equipment repairs can reduce maintenance costs and keep you up and running.
These six tips address only a few of the potential hazards that could be found in any warehouse. Even if you implement all of these, there are no shortcuts when it comes to enforcing OSHA and ANSI guidelines or implementing additional safety measures in your facility.
Are you Ready to Make Changes?
There’s never been a better time to ramp up your safety efforts than today. By partnering with an experienced material handling company, a small investment in expertise can often be rewarded many times over. Besides, what have you got to lose except missed workdays, fines, rising insurance premiums and perhaps your reputation?