Safety is a key part of any workplace, but it becomes even more essential in warehouse settings. Heavy machinery, tall and dense storage solutions, and heavy or fragile products and materials all pose serious safety risks. Managers and employers must stay smart and vigilant about warehouse safety.
Healthy and continuous practices that go above and beyond minimal safety requirements help establish a sense of responsibility and care among your teams. This leads to a safe workplace culture, which in turn leads to happy employees, low turnover rates, and greater levels of productivity throughout your facility. Discover some of the most crucial practices to follow in your facility with our guide on employee safety and how to avoid injuries in your warehouse.
Proper Signage Is Essential
Safety signs are more than just another requirement for your warehouse layout. The right signage decreases the risk of accidents, improves efficiency through better navigation, and helps you avoid legal issues if an accident does occur. Whether you’re marking forklift routes or alerting workers to a spill, safety signage is an essential part of your facility.
Signs, visual aids, safety tape, and other devices act as communicators throughout the warehouse to help employees perform their jobs safely and reliably. Safety signs are a great way to encourage and reinforce a commitment to safety throughout your facility. Make sure the signage around your warehouse is clearly visible, up to date, and relevant for the employees, visitors, and anyone else who enters your facility.
Follow Preventative Maintenance Strategies
Secondary packaging facilities rely on heavy machinery to complete their jobs reliably. Equipment like conveyors, forklifts, and storage solutions are invaluable when they’re functioning, but they can cause issues without proper maintenance.
Routine inspections are a crucial part of keeping your equipment safe and productive. Ensure forklifts are safe to use. Inspect heavy machinery for broken parts, electrical errors, and other issues. Teach employees how to properly start, use, and shut down or store equipment. Any relevant equipment cleaning routines should be standard practice as well. Finally, schedule regular professional inspections and any necessary preventative maintenance so that you can identify and repair equipment issues before they can cause an accident in your facility.
Keep a Clean and Clear Floor
Whether you’re operating a forklift or carrying products by hand, a clear route is essential for navigating a facility safely. Slipping, tripping, and falling are all leading causes of warehouse accidents. Eliminate the dangers of trips and falls by enforcing routine cleaning practices. Hold all employees accountable for picking up after themselves and either cleaning or reporting messes they find as they work. Use proper signage to mark spills and tripping hazards that you can’t clean right away.
The structure of your warehouse can also lead to falls and other accidents. Be sure to clearly mark slopes, narrow paths, and other features that employees should be aware of as they navigate your facility. Additionally, invest in proper lighting to improve visibility throughout the warehouse.
Invest in Proper Protective Gear
Every employee—from entry-level positions to warehouse managers—should take protective gear requirements seriously. If any part of the job calls for protective gear like specific gloves, shoes, or headgear, ensure all employees always follow those standards. It’s also important to watch out for compromised gear. Even something as simple as an untied shoelace adds unnecessary risk to the workplace.
In addition to enforcing protective gear, help your employees meet these safety standards by keeping spare equipment on hand or aiding employee purchases. For example, if you require employees to wear steel-toe shoes, provide new hires with recommended brands so that they can quickly find the right options.
Teach Proper Movement and Equipment Operation
Many safety practices come down to the habits of your individual employees. That’s why it’s important to teach workers important safety techniques and practices.
Utilizing proper lifting techniques is one of the most vital safety habits to instill in your employees. Teach new hires how to safely lift products and materials without straining the back. Post lifting guidelines throughout the facility to act as helpful reminders. Ask supervisors and other employees to hold every member of the team accountable so that everyone can stay safe and healthy.
Other basic safety techniques can also keep your employees on the right track and minimize risks in your warehouse. These basic safety techniques include obeying load capacities, properly stacking products, and wearing a seatbelt while operating machinery.
Make Safety Training Ongoing
A huge aspect of employee safety and how to avoid injuries in your warehouse is to create a culture of safety and responsibility. To do this, all employees—including and especially managers—must take safety practices seriously.
When you treat safety training as a quick and insignificant procedure that’s only for new hires, you show more experienced employees that you don’t truly care about safety in your facility. However, if you provide ongoing training and hold everyone responsible for following safety practices, you create a strong and consistent safety culture. Plus, ongoing training gives all employees an opportunity to brush up on the latest standards and practices so that they can help reduce risks and avoid accidents while on the job.
Employees who are physically or mentally exhausted are more likely to make mistakes. When you’re operating heavy machinery, lifting and stacking products, or performing other warehouse jobs, those mistakes can turn into major accidents if you’re not careful.
Combating fatigue helps keep employees alert and cautious while on the job. Enforce breaks so that employees have a chance to rest instead of staying on their feet for long shifts. Make sure your facility has comfortable break rooms where employees can wind down during meals and mid-shift breaks. You can also offer refreshments to help employees avoid working while hungry or dehydrated—both of which lead to distraction and exhaustion while on the floor.
Automation Can Help
Many common injuries in a secondary packaging facility come down to human error or poor ergonomics. A great way to combat both is to use automated systems for repetitive jobs that require consistent precision and strength. Fully automatic stretch wrapping machines can secure products and create stable pallets at a high capacity rate to protect your products all the way through the supply chain. When you invest in optimized automatic solutions for your facility, you free your employees from intense physical manual labor jobs that can cause serious injuries over time or through sudden accidents.
Learn more about how automatic or semi-automatic secondary packaging systems can improve safety in your facility when you visit Robopac USA today. Our expert team can help you find the right solution for your specific business needs.