Most people don’t really think of warehouses as dangerous places to work, at least when compared to a factory or construction site. Still, there are some serious risks that, when ignored or poorly handled, can have life threatening consequences. Warehouses are places where there are tall stacks of inventory and heavy machinery everywhere you look, after all.
As the supervisor or manager of the facility, you have a responsibility to make sure that employees are safe and secure while they carry out their jobs. Having a clear understanding of the main factors of warehouse safety is the first step.
1. Employees – First and foremost on the list is your people. The actions of your workers are often the biggest factor that determines whether everyone goes home safe or not. It is important to only employ those with a healthy attitude towards workplace safety, and strictly discipline anyone who violates the company’s rules and policies.
Training is another major concern. Ignorant or unskilled employees are a risk to themselves and everyone around them, especially if they’re using machinery. A good forklift training program, for example, can train the driver to avoid common causes of accidents and become more aware of their surroundings.
2. Environment – There are many potential hazards in a warehouse. People can fall off high levels with a single misstep. Fire might break out and spread rapidly throughout the facility. Tall stacks of pallets might collapse and bury a poor, unsuspecting worker. These are very real risks, and you need to have appropriate plans to deal with them.
Inspections help greatly in this matter. Apart from the mandatory ones, you should consider bringing in an outside expert to assess the work area for any safety hazards that you might be unaware of.
3. Equipment – Even if the employees use the equipment properly, that doesn’t help if the machinery itself is broken. Keeping any warehouse equipment well-maintained should be one of your top priorities. Apart from the safety benefits, it will also prevent costly repairs or the need for early replacements.
The well being of employees is an important concern for every business, and a warehouse or distribution center is no exception. Take the time to implement a solid safety program, and you will have much less to worry about in the future.