Setting up safe conditions in your warehouse will prevent injury, fatality and ensure it is a legally-compliant place for staff to work. That’s not all, though. Continued maintenance of safety equipment and regular reviews of your safety procedures are also vital steps to take in order to avoid degradation of warehouse safety conditions. Without this vigilance, it may be easy for the warehouse to slip into unsafe standards. In this article, we’ll be covering the key ways to create a safe warehouse for staff and visitors alike.
How to Improve Warehouse Safety
- What’s the risk? Every warehouse is unique and will pose its own set of hazards. Therefore it’s important to begin with a risk assessment of your warehouse, which must be carried out by a responsible person who understands what needs covering. This risk assessment will help identify areas to monitor and address – it’s important to regularly review this risk assessment in the future, especially if layout, staff numbers, equipment or your type of operation or stock changes.
- Space planning: If you’re starting out from scratch, you’ll want to create a warehouse layout where machinery, workers and pedestrians can move about in the same space safely. Try and separate pedestrian walkways from forklifts and other machinery zones and avoid blind or sharp bends as much as possible.
- Lifting safely: Manual lifting should be avoided wherever possible to protect the long-term physical health of staff – instead, mechanical aids such as forklifts should be used wherever possible. When this isn’t feasible, workers should be instructed in how to manually lift items safely.
- Be fire alert: Like any workplace, it’s an employer’s duty to ensure that all fire safety measures are up to date, including fire safety risk assessment, escape routes and plans, assembly points, fire safety equipment and so on. These must be in line with the Fire Safety Order 2005.
- Marking, linings and signage: Your workforce, along with any visitors, are relying on signs and warehouse surface markings to guide them safely through the space. Signs and markings point out hazards, guide traffic flow in the warehouse, highlight emergency routes, establish zones, and serve many other purposes. And it isn’t enough just to have signs and markings – they also need to be clear and readable to be seen from a distance. As such, get the services of a professional surface marking company, such as Landmark Road Lining, to remove old markings and put down fresh, legible ones in their place if your current markings have faded.
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- Train and communicate: Making a warehouse safe isn’t a one-person project. The whole workforce needs to band together towards this common goal, so make sure everyone is kept in the loop. This attitude promotes a culture of vigilance – and this way, you’ll have plenty of eyes on the ground who know what they’re looking for in terms of workplace safety. It’s also vital to train up staff to be competent at their job, for example, only allowing employees to operate certain machinery if they have the correct training.
- Maintain and inspect: Don’t let equipment fall into disrepair. Ensure it is regularly inspected and maintained by either your staff or external assessors, whichever is required.
- Keep it clean: Basic cleanliness and tidiness not only makes for a more pleasant workplace but also keeps down the risk of trips, slips and fires. Make sure your warehouse floor is free of unnecessary obstructions and ensure stock is kept stored out of the way of day-to-day operations unless immediately required. Also, watch out for liquid spills which must be mopped up straight away.
- PPE: Ensure that all staff are kitted out with the appropriate PPE, which will generally include ear defenders, hard hats, goggles, gloves and work boots – but adapt as necessary.
- Smart surfaces: With so much activity taking place, it’s inevitable that the warehouse surfaces may degrade over time. If you’re noticing potholes forming or markings fading, get them corrected as soon as possible – leaving it will only exacerbate the problem and potentially lead to injury. Also, consider laying out anti-slip surfacing where appropriate to reduce the risk of slips or skidding.
Remember – this article is only meant to be a brief guide. The complete warehouse safety practices you carry out will be unique to your warehouse, layout, staff and industry.
Searching for bespoke warehouse markings to keep your premises safe? Here at Landmark Road Lining, we offer a UK-wide surface lining service, including safety markings for warehouses. From hazard warnings to anti-slip surfaces and emergency routes, we ensure your warehouse stays protected. Get in touch to find out how we can help.
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