Your warehouse is the lifeblood of your organization. The warehouse not only serves as a place to receive, store and ship product, but is the place that many personnel spend all or most of their work day. Put simply, it contains two of your most important resources: your people and your product. Because of the integral role your warehouse plays in your organization, it is vitally important to make warehouse safety a top priority in your organization.
Warehouse Safety a Top Priority
The more product, personnel and equipment there are in a given warehouse, the greater the chances of a safety slip-up and resulting accident. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 12 fatalities in warehouses across the nation in 2012, along with 5.5 reportable injuries per 100 warehouse employees. Those numbers are unacceptable, especially when considering the preventable nature of many of them. Most of the commonly found warehouse safety hazards involve forklifts, loading docks, improper storage, pinch points, manual handling or hazardous materials at charging stations. The average warehouse presents a plethora of safety concerns, and neglecting to properly train warehouse personnel or maintain equipment can result in a warehouse that resembles a giant booby trap more than it does a safe and productive workplace. With proper safety precautions and enthusiastic buy-in from employees, the number of workplace safety hazards and accidents can largely be kept in check.
AK Material Handling Systems is a great place to start when looking to elevate your organization’s safety. Our material handling professionals are well-versed in warehouse safety best practices, and can provide both training and insight into how to follow proper safety standards. Along with tips and training, we can help you learn the record keeping strategies needed prevent accidents. For example, OSHA safety checklists and maintenance sheets can be effective in preventing equipment-related accidents, and are one of the first things OSHA inspectors look to if an accident does occur. However, standard precautions such as these are not enough in and of themselves. Extensive safety training should be required of all warehouse personnel, and is a staple of effective accident prevention protocols.
Because of the potential human and capital costs associated with pallet rack, regular rack inspections are always advised. When inspecting pallet rack, personnel should ask the following questions: Is the rack plumb and level? Is the metal corroded or rusted in any way? Is racking overloaded or improperly loaded? Are uprights bent or damaged? If any of these questions are answered with a “yes,” action should be taken immediately to address the problem. Pallet rack areas can be dangerous, and appropriate ANSI warning labels should be placed in particularly high risk zones.
Safety education is important, but if it is not embraced and implemented by warehouse employees and management alike, it will be of little to no use. An organization must take it upon themselves to create a deeply rooted culture of safety that manifests itself each day. Concrete actions like forming an internal safety committee to enforce safety protocols and actively correcting safety-related mistakes go a long way toward maximizing workplace safety.
Enhancing Safety in the Warehouse
While it may not be possible to calculate the ROI of the peace of mind that accompanies a truly safe workplace, it is possible to calculate the resources preserved by avoiding costly accidents. Damaged product and equipment alone can rob a business of a large chunk of their capital, let alone the opportunity cost of lost labor time and arduous clean up. Add to these the potential for steep fines and lawsuits, and it’s easy to see how a lack of workplace safety can threaten a company’s bottom line.
Wondering where to start? Take the initial step by contacting AK Material Handling Systems to conduct a warehouse safety evaluation. We’ll get you well on your way to having a warehouse that’s as safe as it is efficient.