Warehouses by their very nature can be particularly prone to being unsafe in a number of unique ways, both while in use and while closed to operation. There are many reasons as to why it is vital to ensure that warehouses remain safe ALL of the time.
For one thing your own reputation and your bottom line both require you to keep your goods safe. Warehouses are prime targets for burglars, especially for successful businesses for whom their warehouse is a hive of activity and capable of housing a great deal of items of value at any given time. Also, and perhaps most importantly it is imperative that you mitigate against any potential accidents in the workplace by ensuring that your warehouse is safe in terms of health and safety and fire safety. Warehouses tend to involve the operation of some heavy machinery and moving of heavy objects and there are a great number of possible accidents waiting to happen unless certain procedures are set in place and safety measures adhered to.
Let’s quickly address the safety of the warehouse in terms of avoiding burglaries first, before getting on to the ‘health and safety’ side of things. There are several ways to help keep your warehouse secure.
- Require sign-in for all visitors. You will know who is (or has been) on site at all times.
- Deploy adequate surveillance. Motion sensors and onsite security checkpoints as well as alarms and video surveillance are all advisable.
- Uniforms and name badges should be mandatory to avoid unwanted people slipping through the net.
- A security guard should patrol the site at night.
- Display signage that clearly states areas that are out of bounds.
Right, moving on to how you can ensure that your warehouse is a safe place in which to work, there are a number of things that can be done.
- Use barrier protection and floor marking tape to avoid walking into dangerous areas, such as into the path of forklift operators. The good thing about marking tape is the ability to move it as the sites that are dangerous could change over time.
- Installing guardrails can be important, but all depends on the element of risk being present. Warehouses where pallet trucks and forklifts are being driven require the presence of guardrails on corners and ramps so that the vehicles must slow down to ensure concentration and avoidance of pedestrians.
- It is vital that bright clothing such as hi-vis jackets and hard hats are used as necessary. The brightest colours possible are best so that employees can be seen from as far away as possible.
- Keeping a tidy warehouse might seem a little overambitious, but cluttered aisles is the cause of many warehouse accidents. Having loose materials lying around presents a fire risk, not to mention trip hazard. Aisles should be kept completely clutter free.
- Making sure that clear and sensible safety signage is displayed around the warehouse highlighting any potential hazards and fire safety protocol is imperative. In addition, it is vital that clear fire safety protocol is in place and everyone is aware of fire escapes and extinguishers.
- Always ensure the installation of quality lighting. LED lighting is great as it cuts costs and is also very efficient. Excellent lighting cuts the risk of accidents in the warehouse.
- Finally, do not underestimate the importance of regular team meetings to make sure everyone is up to speed on any changes in procedure that change the types of risks in the warehouse. Keeping everyone aware and up to speed is essential in running a safe warehouse.