Warehouses are an essential hub of any business. They keep goods and products secure and act as the base of operations for shipping and receiving. However, with so many materials, equipment, and employees bustling about, there is plenty of room for accidents and safety risks.
As such, whether you’re a warehouse owner or driving the floor in a forklift, it’s essential to know the key measures that will keep your warehouse safe.
1. Check Your Sprinkler System
At this point in time, it’s unusual to find a large commercial building without a sprinkler system. However, just because your warehouse has sprinklers doesn’t mean they are suited for the building.
Automatic fire sprinklers are temperature sensitive and go off when the surrounding area reaches a certain temperature. This temperature depends on the type of system in the building. Large industrial buildings often employ systems that go off when the interior reaches a high temperature. You will need to examine the fire codes in your area to know which class of sprinkler system is the safest choice for your building.
2. Ensure Electrical Wiring Is Up to Date
While fire sprinklers will help stop a fire once it begins, it’s essential to employ safety measures that will help keep a fire from starting in the first place. One of the most common causes of fires is faulty or outdated electrical wiring. This kind of wiring tends to overheat and ignite surrounding areas or potentially cause an arc flash, leading to explosions.
Working with electrical equipment can be dangerous, so updating it yourself is not something you should undertake unless you have training or previous experience. Calling an electrical engineer to inspect your building is the best way to determine if you need to rewire your facility.
3. Employ Regular Equipment Inspections
Heavy equipment and machinery are some of the biggest causes of industrial accidents. Some of these accidents are due to negligent use of the machines; however, even if an operator uses a machine correctly, an accident may still happen if the equipment is faulty.
That’s why having a regular equipment inspection schedule is an essential safety measure for every warehouse. Equipment inspections will help catch minor errors before they become major ones. Such inspections should include:
- Looking for damaged treads on forklift tires
- Listening to loud or unusual noises
- Noting machine parts that are unusually hot
- Identifying stripped or damaged wires or insulation
- Ensuring brakes and warning lights are operational
4. Manage Warehouse Traffic
Forklifts and pedestrians operating in the same place can create dangerous scenarios for everyone involved. To avoid accidents, warehouses should establish “traffic rules” within their aisles. Putting up signs at corners to remind employees to watch out for forklifts and creating pedestrian spaces where forklifts can’t drive are primary examples of managing warehouse traffic. All this can lead to increased production in your warehouse.
5. Review Your Warehouse’s Layout
The way you arrange your warehouse can have a significant impact on safety. For example, if you store items that are particularly flammable near heat sources or electrical equipment, the risk of fire increases exponentially. Reviewing your warehouse’s layout and making changes where necessary is an essential step in keeping your space safe.
7. Ensure Aisles and Walkways Are Clear
One of the most common causes of accidents in warehouses is cluttered aisles and walkways. When employees have to navigate around boxes, products, and other obstacles, the risk of trips and falls goes up. In addition, blocked aisles make it difficult for forklifts to maneuver, which could lead to accidents.
To keep your warehouse safe, it’s important to ensure that aisles and walkways are clear at all times. Establishing a “no clutter” policy is a good way to keep employees from leaving items in the aisle, and conducting regular cleanups will help remove any obstacles that do end up in the workspace.
8. Install Ample Lighting
Poor lighting is another leading cause of accidents in warehouses. When it’s hard to see, employees are more likely to trip and fall or run into something. In addition, dim lighting can make it difficult for forklift operators to see where they’re going, which could lead to an accident.
To avoid these risks, it’s important to install ample lighting throughout your warehouse. Putting lights on timers is a good way to ensure that the space is always well-lit, and placing lights above work areas will help employees see what they’re doing.
In conclusion, there are many steps you can take to make your warehouse safer. Updating electrical wiring, conducting regular equipment inspections, and managing warehouse traffic are just a few of the ways you can reduce the risks in your facility. By taking these precautions, you can help create a safe environment for everyone who works in your warehouse.
Your warehouse is the heart of your business. Just as you would strive to take care of your heart to improve your overall health, taking care of your warehouse will ensure that your business continues to thrive.