COVID-19 has put workplace safety in the spotlight. As businesses around the country review the ways they keep employees and customers safe, make sure you’re examining safety in your own warehouse.
From infectious diseases to workplace injuries, warehouses come with a wide range of workplace hazards. Here’s how you can address them and make your business’s warehouse a safer place to work.
Invest in Safe Equipment
A safe warehouse starts with the right equipment. Instead of simply searching for the best value, businesses should look for warehouse equipment that’s sturdy and stable. While it requires a larger upfront investment, starting out with high-quality racking and machinery reduces the likelihood of accidents and saves money on repair and replacement down the line.
This applies to under-the-radar equipment like control panels, too. Industrial control panels manage important functions like HVAC and automated machinery, and the wrong configuration can result in dangerous malfunctions. When installing or upgrading a control panel, it’s critical to assess both system specifications and regulatory standards to develop a schematic.
Train Employees on Safe Warehouse Practices
High-quality equipment can still be dangerous in the wrong hands. Make sure employees receive ongoing training that covers not just efficiency, but safety protocols, too. Training should cover OSHA standards, safe operation of machinery, and ways to improve efficiency without overworking. Be sure to solicit feedback from employees during training sessions as well. Not only does feedback inform managers of safety concerns they may be unaware of, it’s a valuable way to ensure that employees are on the same page regarding workplace safety.
Use Signs to Promote Safety
Even with training, employees can slip up. Make sure safety stays at the forefront of warehouse workers’ minds by posting safety expectations on signs around the warehouse. Safety reminders near heavy machinery, loading docks, and other hazardous areas remind employees of the precautions needed to prevent workplace accidents.
Likewise, signs pointing to emergency exits, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and eye wash stations ensure that employees can find the help they need when something does go wrong.
Address COVID-19 Concerns
The steps above address routine warehouse safety, but what about warehouse safety during the coronavirus pandemic? Preventing disease transmission in a warehouse environment is more complicated than preventing accidents and injuries, but there’s still a lot that companies can do to keep warehouse employees healthy.
Safety measures recommended by experts in the field include:
● Routine screening of employee temperatures.
● Expanded sick leave.
● Enhanced cleaning practices.
● Social distancing.
● Use of PPE including face masks.
● Creation of a dedicated response team and written response plan.
Social distancing poses the biggest challenge to warehouse operations. One measure warehouses are using to create distance between workers is staggered shifts. By staggering start times, businesses prevent workers from congregating near time clocks and in break rooms. Businesses should also keep third parties like vendors and visitors out of the warehouse whenever possible.
Busy warehouses may need to implement creative solutions like adapting warehouse layouts for one-way traffic or creating picking zones to which individual workers are assigned. In areas prone to congestion, companies can use floor markings and signs to reinforce social distancing.
While the coronavirus pandemic has introduced new safety concerns to warehouse operations, the truth is, warehouse safety is always an ongoing project. From choosing industrial equipment with workplace safety in mind to finding ways to maximize productivity without sacrificing worker well-being, safety should be at the center of every decision you make in your warehouse. Sit down to review your business’s safety standards today and start making your warehouse a safer place to work.
This guest blog was provided by safety guru Burt Sims. As a former workplace safety consultant, it was his job to help manufacturing facilities prevent on-site accidents.
For more information and manufacturing safety tips visit his site at alertburt.com.