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Tips for a Safer Warehouse in 2015

By: Grant King - IndustrySearch Writer
23 February, 2015

It's not hard to see why accidents happen in warehouses. Trucks are pouring in and out of docks and being loaded and unloaded. Forklifts are flying around with tons of stock on pallets. Orders are being picked from shelves four storeys high.

And everyone is running to a deadline of deliveries and monthly budgets. All this creates a daily recipe for disaster if appropriate safety practices aren't in place. So here are some tips to help your warehouse enjoy a pain-free 2015.

Take stock of your inventory

Haste has its place, but not when it comes to stacking and storing incoming goods. Make sure all stacks are straight, steady and even to avoid untimely topples. For shelf stacking, try to keep all the most frequently picked items on the bottom shelves. Heavier loads should also be as close to the ground as possible to avoid shelves being top-heavy and unstable. All aisles and alleyways in your warehouse should be clear of obstructions.  

Foolproof your floor space

We humans aren't designed to react well when our feet encounter an unexpected puddle on an otherwise secure surface. So train your entire team to deal with any spills or potential hazards as soon as they happen or the moment they are spotted. Anti-slip industrial floor mats are a great idea for all your packing stations and high foot traffic areas. Not only do they stop people going bottoms up on a regular basis, they greatly reduce the stress on legs when staff are working on their feet all day. And if you have to have power cords and hoses running across floors, cover them with heavy duty cord covers to avoid trips and run over damage.

Flex machines not muscles

Manhandling tons of stock off a truck or onto shelves is only impressive until someone phones in with a crook back. So have a clear cut lifting policy and stick to it. Your warehouse isn't a gym and no one cares if your storemen can lift their own bodyweight above their head. Employ as much mechanical lifting equipment as you can afford and instruct all your workers to shelve the heroics and use it.

Invest in worker well-being

The stuff on your shelves is important, but your most valuable inventory is your workforce. So spend a bit of money maximising their comfort and safety and you'll reap the rewards in low sick days. Give them great lighting everywhere and really go to town on the lighting in packing areas where eyestrain is most likely. Make sure there is good air-flow through your entire building to drive out fumes from trucks and forklifts the moment they drive in.  And invest in the power of downtime by being generous with breaks and recreation time. Not only are fresh workers more productive workers, they'll feel appreciated and repay you with loyalty and longevity.  

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