Adversaries of comprehensive warehouse safety programs argue that they pose too great of a demand on current employees, create a potential need for dedicated personnel, and leach off of resources needed for more imminent, tangible tasks. Seeing is believing; therefore, reactivity typically takes precedence over proactivity since well-defined tasks pose a sense of urgency. Nonetheless, such proactivity could prevent both tragic consequences to affected parties in an accident and crippling financial liabilities to a company that has neglected to enact and sustain safety protocols. Formulating a checklist and routinely assessing compliance to established standards is a relatively effortless way to ensure that safety is paramount to your warehouse.
Proper training, visual graphics, first aid supplies and communication are paramount in ensuring that people—personnel or customers—are sufficiently advised of potential hazards. As Voltaire said, “common sense is not so common”: stating the obvious is the best way to protect others, as well as yourself.
• Clean all spills immediately upon their occurrence and/or use proper hazard cones to ward individuals away from the area. One of the most common causes of accidents results from unattended spills.
• Designate pedestrian walkways as well as areas that people are prohibited to walk, unless authorized.
• Use appropriate signage to instruct people of the following: directions throughout a warehouse, hazard symbols, forklift traffic, gantry cranes, and requirements for moving heavy items. This list is not all-inclusive since it varies by warehouse to warehouse, but it targets common issues.
• Use proper methods for retrieving items high in warehouse racking (e.g. forklift) and do not allow persons to climb the racking.
• Maintain accessible safety equipment (safety glasses, eye wash stations, respirators, etc.) in required areas.
• Use proper “Exit” signs and require that all persons use man doors, instead of walking under open garage doors.