Four Signs that Your Warehouse is Unsafe
A warehouse is a work environment which is busy with people and goods coming and going at various times. The last thing you want to discover is that it is an unsafe environment for anyone working or visiting the premises. However, if you are not diligent about keeping safety at the forefront of your daily operations, it’s possible that you may see one or more signs that your warehouse is unsafe – and you will need to take steps to deal with them.
Signs your Warehouse is Unsafe
- Forklifts are not locked and secured when not in use.
Forklifts are necessary pieces of machinery for the operation of your warehouse and can move about the floor at a relatively high rate of speed. Everyone on your team should be aware that they are only to be operated by staff who are specifically authorised to do so as part of their job duties.
To ensure that no one decides that it would be a lark to take one of these machines for a ride if it were left unattended, make sure that all of your operators know that the forklifts should be locked and secured when not in use. Have a system in place so that the keys are not available to all staff, but only the operators and their supervisors for extra security.
- Lack of safety barriers.
If the interior of the warehouse were simply one continuous open space with no barriers to indicate lanes where vehicles will be driving with pallets of goods or areas where pedestrians can expect to be able to walk or cross safely, not only will productivity decrease but the likelihood of an accident occurring will increase dramatically.
Low level traffic safety barriers can be installed throughout the warehouse to easily indicate lanes for vehicles and pedestrians alike. Double safety barriers can be put in place where needed, such as where conveyor belts may be used to move goods to and from loading and unloading areas or as a matter of preference.
- Workers perform the same repetitive tasks without varying their routine.
When workers are given tasks to do that are repetitive, make a point of allowing them to take regular breaks from their work stations. They should be able to use this time to stretch, go to the toilet, have a snack or sit down for a few minutes. Standing for long periods of time on a hard surface can lead to back and foot pain, which can prove distracting to a worker who needs to be alert and focused on their job.
If possible, allow workers to change their routine so that they are not spending all of their time on the floor doing the same type of repetitive type of work. Distracted employees are more likely to make mistakes which can lead to accidents because they stop paying close attention.
- There is no safety training offered as an ongoing workplace policy.
Safety training should be part of the introduction to the company that new hires receive when they start work at your warehouse. Often, though, there is so much information that a new employee needs to absorb that the safety part ends up being forgotten.
For this reason, safety training should be something that is revisited regularly for all staff. Refresher training should be provided to everyone as part of an ongoing commitment to safety and keeping everyone who works at the warehouse safe and able to perform their job properly.
It may not be practical to send everyone on staff out to formal safety classes once a year to make sure that they are up to date on their safety training, but supervisors or managers can schedule short meetings every quarter to remind their team about safety-related issues. This approach may be more effective than sending out a newsletter, since there is no guarantee that all employees would read it or understand how the message pertains to their particular job.
In between safety meetings, make sure that all staff know that they can bring any safety concerns to the attention of their supervisor or directly to you and that it will be dealt with. If you notice any of these unsafe situations in your warehouse, be sure to take immediate action to rectify them.