What matters more to you in your warehouse, safety or productivity?
Hopefully both, right?
Unfortunately, many managers disregard basic warehouse safety tips in order to achieve marginal productivity gains.
Not only will this practice lead to reduced productivity as a result of increased injuries or accidents, but it’s unsustainable long-term.
If you value increased productivity, then you should equally value warehouse safety. The safer your warehouse, the easier it will be for your employees to work harder, smarter, longer, and better.
To get the boost in productivity you want without cutting corners and putting your employees (and business) at risk, check out our actionable list of warehouse safety tips below that you can use today.
Warehouse Safety Tips
This isn’t an exhaustive list of recommendations, but you can use it as a simple warehouse safety checklist to get started, and add additional items in the future as you see fit.
Train Your Employees on Proper Warehouse Safety Practices
Without well-trained staff, the rest of the tips on this list won’t matter. Accidents occur more often when an employee doesn’t know what they’re doing than when a sign isn’t posted in the right area.
For that reason, warehouse safety training for employees should be your top priority.
All new employees should be given extensive training the moment they’re hired. All existing employees should receive periodic training to refresh their memories and maintain a strong culture of workplace safety.
All managers and supervisors should be reevaluated on their knowledge of basic safety procedures to ensure they’re setting a good example for the rest of your workforce.
Ensure Employees Use Warehouse Safety Equipment
All employees, managers, and supervisors should wear proper protective equipment (PPE) at all times – regardless of how minimal or extensive your PPE may be.
In addition to wearing PPE, all employees should use the appropriate equipment for their particular job. Items that are too heavy should always be lifted with forklifts or hydraulic dollies, for example.
Even if your employees are well-trained, they could still severely injure themselves if they’re not wearing proper safety equipment.
Post Warehouse Safety Procedures and Emergency Procedures in Visible Areas
To eliminate any excuses for not following warehouse safety procedures or wearing PPE or operating the right equipment, you should post your safety policies and procedures in visible spots throughout your warehouse.
You might even consider posting warehouse safety tips and lists like this, as a constant reminder to your employees to practice safety above everything else.
Posters could describe proper lifting techniques, how to handle hazardous materials, how to operate specific machines, etc.
If accidents or emergencies occur, there should be clear instructions posted around the warehouse directing employees on what to do in that situation.
For example, you should hang posters that direct employees to the nearest eyewash stations, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and so on.
You should never rely on your employees memories in an emergency. Instead, make sure all safety and emergency procedures are clearly visible throughout your warehouse.
Provide Essential Safety Amenities to Your Employees
These warehouse safety tips are designed to reduce the instance of an accident or emergency as much as possible.
To that end, your warehouse should be designed to be as safe as possible. Here are a few warehouse layout safety tips to keep in mind:
- Separate forklift traffic from pedestrian traffic when possible to avoid collisions or falling loads
- Ensure bright lights are positioned throughout your warehouse to guarantee clear vision whenever employees are working
- Design workstations and equipment to be as ergonomic as possible to minimize lifting, turning, bending, or any other strained movements
- Install guardrails and stair steps that grip footwear to reduce slips or falls
Conduct a Safety Audit of Your Equipment and Facility Regularly
Putting warehouse safety tips into practice is the easiest part of making your warehouse safe.
The hard part is maintaining safety procedures long-term. To do that, you have to conduct regular safety audits.
These audits should be performed on your machinery and equipment along with your employees.
Daily, weekly, and monthly safety checkups are necessary to identify potential hazards or unsafe working conditions.
Here are a few things to make sure of in your regular safety audits:
- Stationary equipment is working properly
- Warehouse vehicles are well-maintained and ready for use
- Walkways are free of clutter or boxes
- Spills and other messes are cleaned up
- Stray cords are neatly put away
- Cracks or pits in the flooring are filled or sealed
- Lights are all working
- Employees are wearing and using their PPE
Comply with Established Warehouse Safety Rules and Regulations
There are many workplace safety standards and regulatory bodies, both voluntary and mandatory, that exist to maintain the safest business practices.
Violating any of the voluntary standards could result in future accidents and lost productivity, while violating any of the mandatory standards could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
To give you an idea of the standards most businesses usually violate, here are OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standards:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication standard
- Respiratory protection
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)
- Powered industrial trucks
- Machinery and Machine Guarding
- Fall Protection
To keep your warehouse as safe as possible (and avoid unnecessary fines) then make sure your facility conforms to the latest standards according to the institutional bodies governing safety practices in your industry.
Beyond Warehouse Safety Tips
Like we mentioned before, these warehouse safety tips are designed to get you started on the path to a safer warehouse – there are many more things you can do to prevent accidents and protect your employees.
But hopefully this list does provide some good ideas for you to implement immediately as you move forward in identifying other ways to ensure proper warehouse safety.
For more tips on warehouse optimization in general, check out our articles on effective warehouse layout design and best practices when receiving inventory.
And if you’d like to better manage the most important thing in your warehouse – your inventory – then find out how DEAR Inventory can streamline your business today.