Safety is extremely important in every workplace. Your warehouse work environment is no different from any commercial or industrial site where safety hazards are ever present. Minimizing risks and preventing accidents are paramount for warehouse managers. It’s also your workers’ duty to identify potential risk and then strive towards improving workplace safety.
A major part of every warehouse safety program is having the right equipment. Investing in quality warehouse equipment is an excellent tactic for minimizing hazards. Top quality equipment is designed with worker safety in mind, and your workers’ safety is the top priority for Cherry’s Industrial Equipment.
We supply excellent products that are properly built with safety measures in place. We also pledge to help train your workers in the safe operation of all our industrial equipment. Part of our corporate commitment is giving you these handy tips for warehouse safety.
The Importance of Safety in the Warehouse
Keeping your workers safe from injury is extremely important. Accidents don’t just result in production delays and related problems. They also cause injuries that lead to lost time or even permanent disability. In the worst cases, workers are killed in warehouse accidents. Many of these incidents could have been prevented if proper safety procedures were in place.
Injuries aren’t the only outcome of warehouse safety hazards. Staff morale is negatively affected when safety isn’t a cultural priority. Poor workplace morale has a spiraling effect. It leads to a culture of carelessness rather than one where alert employees watch out for each other. Safe workers are more productive workers, and that’s necessary for profitability.
Workplace injuries are expensive. From a medical standpoint alone, the expense of treating injured workers can be enormous. Lost production time is a direct cost. This can be multiplied by increased worker compensation insurance hikes after repeated accidents. Then there’s the emotional human cost, which is impossible to value.
Property and equipment damage is another costly result of a culture in which warehouse safety is a low priority. Valuable stock can be crushed or broken when using inferior material handling and storage equipment. So can the equipment itself. This loss is expensive and unnecessary. You can gain considerable savings when workers are safe and use the right tools and equipment.
Adherence to government safety regulations is another important reason for increasing safety in the warehouse. OSHA and other regulators, like workers compensation providers, have the authority to enforce workplace safety. A serious accident or pattern of unsafe practices can result in hefty fines or suspension of business licensing. That could ultimately hurt an otherwise profitable company.
There are other reasons why warehouse safety best practices matter. Simply being the ethical thing to do is one. This begins with a corporate culture that says, “Safety is the way we do business around here.” That’s our philosophy at Cherry’s Industrial Equipment, and that’s why we’re giving you these tips for safety in the warehouse.
Safety Tips for Warehouse Workers
Sadly, workplace fatalities are a reality for some American businesses. In 2015, there were over 4,800 fatal workplace accidents in the United States, plus tens of thousands of serious injuries. These unfortunate tragedies have several causes. Collisions with moving objects, exposure to chemicals, contact with unprotected energy sources, explosions and fires lead to many injuries and fatalities. But the biggest cause of workplace accidents resulting in a significant loss is from falls.
OSHA rules indicate that workers operating above four feet must be protected in some way to keep them from falling. Guards and barriers around opening edges are the preferred protection method. Raised working platforms are also efficient, but where mechanical protection isn’t practical, workers must be tied off with a fall arrest apparatus.
Serious fall injuries also happen closer to the ground. Slips and trips at your warehouse floor level can be costly. You can prevent these by using marking tape and signs that alert employees to potential hazards. Using these inexpensive and visible safety devices is just one of many warehouse worker safety practices. Ultimately, safety is about awareness of all workplace hazards and having a plan to mitigate them.
Your safety plan should include attention to proper training, dress codes, cleaning and organizing your warehouse environment, marking open walkways with property safety markings, using strategic safety barriers, having the correct racking and engaging in regular service maintenance. You also need to train employees on lockout/tagout procedures as well as effectively communicate your company’s emergency action plan.
Maximizing safety by using proper material handling equipment is one of the biggest safety tips for working in a warehouse. You can significantly increase safety by using quality container tilters, working platforms, lift tables, machinery skates and roller skids. Don’t overlook investing in storage cabinets and safety barriers. Moving loaded pallets with pallet trucks is safer when you use industrial handling equipment. Even slip sheets and freezer spaces make your warehouse safer.
Cherry’s Industrial Equipment supplies you with all these safe material handling products and more. Our products are made in America with safety as a foremost priority. We’re aware of the facts when it comes to warehouse safety. We also make sure our warehouse safety tips are OSHA compliant.
Proper Safety Training and Certification
Properly trained employees are safer workers. Warehouses are inherently dangerous places, but you can minimize most risks when you train your employees in operating material handling equipment the right way. Every worker needs to know safe operating procedures. This reduces the chance that they’ll overlook or ignore safety steps. Your workers must make sound decisions in dangerous environments.
Training basics include first demonstrating how to operate equipment, such as a pallet truck or a lift table. Then you observe the worker using the equipment before testing them to ensure they’ve retained the knowledge. The final training step is certifying they can operate it safely and productively.
Certification is an important protection for both you and your workers. Formally certifying that a worker is trained and skilled to operate serious equipment like aerial work platforms or simple tools like roller skids provides them and others with confidence. It also brings an extra credibility to your company overall.
Training and certification also flow downhill. Many companies in the warehouse business have a “Train the Trainer” program where a certified worker goes on to teach others. This helps train greater number of employees in operating material handling equipment.
Using Dress Codes for Warehouse Safety
Having your workforce adhere to a dress code is an excellent idea. It looks professional, and it instills a sense of pride and belonging to a company that cares about its valued workers. Having your warehouse workers wear uniforms subtly tells others like delivery and supply drivers they’re dealing with a corporation that has its act together.
Professional dress tells your customers that you’re organized and careful. It quietly reassures them that you can meet their needs. Dress codes might sound like a stretch to some who aren’t aware of the proven safety benefits of this approach. Company dress codes work in all forms of personal protective equipment (PPE).
PPE can be corporately designed and reflect a code of uniform safety. Hardhats, gloves and steel-toed boots are mandatory in most warehouse environments. OSHA and other regulators also require them. Hi-Viz clothing is also necessary where there is moving equipment. These items can be safely designed to reflect your company’s dress code while increasing employee safety.
Dress codes extend to personal grooming. This isn’t just for visual effects. Long hair can be deadly around conveyors and belt-driven equipment. Rings, watches and jewelry can also be dangerous. Your company dress code should look at all aspects of personal safety and protection equipment. It’s not expensive and produces a high return on investment.
Have a Clean and Organized Warehouse Environment
Clean and organized facilities are far safer than messy places where clutter and discarded debris lies about. Slip and trip danger is way higher in aisles and docks where packing material is left loose. Cords and cables need to be tucked safely to the side. The same goes for tools not in use.
Clean up spills as soon as possible. Until then, any puddle of water, oil or other slippery material needs immediate marking with warning signs and must be protected by temporary barriers. You can indicate access points to hazardous areas with floor tape or aisle marking adhesives.
Improperly built or packed storage racks present another source of disorganization-fueled danger. Racks equipped with wire mesh decking are safer than heavy solid decks. They’re also easier to keep clean. Always stack pallet racks with heavier items on the bottom to avoid tipping, and place lighter items higher up.
Clean and safe organization also includes using proper safety storage cabinets. Keep chemicals and flammables in properly designed cabinets that you clearly mark to indicate their contents. This includes paints, inks and propane cylinders. It’s all part of a clean and organized warehouse.
Identify Open Walkways With Property Safety Markings
Open walkways are important for preventing accidents. Blocked and cluttered aisles are accidents waiting to happen. It gets worse as height increases, especially with catwalks and mezzanines. Cluttered aisles make workers divert and dodge obstructions. This can force them into the path of moving equipment like pallet trucks and jacks.
Improperly stacked materials like loaded pallets limit visibility and create blind spots. Store tools and handling equipment in a safe and dedicated place when not in use. Small details like stacking empty pallets all in one place make a big difference in opening walkways and clearing safe passage for busy workers.
Safety alerts like aisle markings help clearly indicate active zones that must be kept clear at all times. Floor tape is perfect for directing traffic and designating workstations and storage areas. They guide paths to loading bays and warn foot traffic of potential hazards. All of these marking products can be customized to suit your facility.
Use Strategic Barriers
Strategic barriers are one of the most efficient and cost-effective safety devices you can invest in. You can easily prevent many accidents like collisions with mobile equipment or falls from unprotected edges by using a strategic barrier. These safety guards vary in purpose and design, but they’re excellent deterrents against accidents with people and property in your warehouse.
Cherry’s Industrial Equipment carries a large supply of safety barriers and guards. Choose from this large selection for all your warehouse safety needs:
- Column guards
- Conveyor guards
- Machinery guards
- Modular guards
- Overhead door track guards
- Post guards
- Rack guards
- General safety railings
- Wall guards
No matter what requires physical protection in your warehouse environment, Cherry’s Industrial has the right gate or barrier solution. You can choose the right product for your budget and needs. We make sure all safety products meet OSHA guidelines and are of the highest quality.
Install the Correct Racking, Shelving and Wire Decking
Many warehouse accidents stem from improper use of racking, shelving and wire decking. Overloaded and precariously stacked pallet racks can topple over and create a dangerous avalanche of flowing products. A tipped rack can also domino onto other racks and cause a sequence of collapses.
This is one risk you must be extremely cautious about. Carefully consider how your racking is assembled. Does it employ step beams, tear drop frames and uprights? Do you have pallet support bars? Are your racking footplates bolted firmly to the floor?
What about your horizontal shelving? Wire mesh decking is lighter than solid material and is very favorable to fire code safety regulations since they are durable and impervious to most materials including chemical spills and fire.
The best quality racking and decking are robust in construction providing that extra measure of safety and security. Cherry’s Industrial Equipment is proud to have such an extensive line of uprights, beams, and wire decks to meet your company’s storing needs.
Regular Service and Preventive Maintenance
For those who have purchased our line of manufactured equipment Cherry’s Industrial Equipment has another excellent warehouse safety service. We offer preventive maintenance to go along with our material handling tools and equipment. This program doesn’t only extend your equipment life and lower its downtime. It also keeps your workers safer by ensuring your equipment runs smoothly, and the built-in safety features are in working order.
We do regular inspections of all electrical and hydraulic systems. The machine maintenance program is scheduled at specific intervals. Since we build and supply this equipment, we’re in the best position to know how to keep it running at its peak and safest performance.
Cherry’s Industrial preventive maintenance calendar works on a 6-week, 6-month and 12-month rotation. The basic service ensures that all fluid levels are correct and all safety devices like gauges, shut-offs and guards are in order. Longer intervals look at belts, hoses, bolts and fittings. To discuss how you can implement a regular preventative maintenance program for your Cherry’s-manufactured machinery and equipment you can reach one of our product specialists at 877-350-2748.
Implement and Train on Proper Lockout/Tagout Procedures
Active equipment energy sources can be deadly. High amperage and voltage in electrical supplies or hydraulic pressure are dangerous. Your workers need to be isolated from significant energy when repairing or deactivating their material handling equipment. They also need to be trained in what’s called the lockout/tagout procedure or LOTO.
Theory and application for LOTO are simple once your workers know the program. It’s all about isolating energy sources and locking out any possibility of accidental and unwanted activation. Correct LOTO procedure includes an individual taking responsibility for physically locking down the equipment and then tagging it with a written notice. That person retains the lock’s key, and no one but that worker can reactivate the machine until it’s proven safe.
These dangerous energy sources go beyond electricity and hydraulics. They include gas, steam, thermal, kinetic, gravity and spring tension. Training your workers about LOTO involves the five basic steps:
- Announce shut-off
- Identify energy source
- Isolate energy source
- Lock and tag energy source
- Prove energy isolation is accomplished
Implement and Train on an Emergency Action Plan
Emergency action plans (EAP) are mandatory in every professional warehouse. Good EAPs explicitly list step-by-step what to do in every type of anticipated emergency. That could include fires, medical emergencies and natural events like storms or floods. Your EAP should also address human events like an intrusion or unauthorized visitors.
It's not sufficient to have a formal EAP that no one can find. Every worker needs to know what to do in the event of an emergency. You can accomplish this by implementing your EAP and training your workers on what’s involved.
Emergency action plans contain more than response call numbers, exit locations and first aid directions. A good EAP takes into account your business and its unique location. You don’t have to invent your own EAP or create something too complex. OSHA has an excellent guide that takes you through the EAP process and helps you make sure you’ve included what’s necessary. They even provide implementation and training directions.
Practice Effective Communications With Employees
Effective communication isn’t limited to your emergency action plan. Proper communication throughout your warehouse business is vital for your safety program as well as your overall staff relations. People work best when they know exactly what their job requires of them. You accomplish this through effective communication.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are common in every business, not just warehouse environments. SOPs list the task, then explain how to accomplish it. They also include safety requirements. The key to workable communications is that they’re easy to understand and leave no questions unanswered.
Being proactive in emergencies requires written, oral and visual communication skills. Beyond documented SOPs, your safety communications should include verbal talks at toolbox safety meetings and prominent signage. Your safety plan should also be open to effective communications from employees and encourage feedback and suggestions for improvements.
Maximize Safety With Proper Material Handling Equipment
Having a written emergency action plan as well as having your employees trained and prepared is crucial to a successful warehouse safety program. Just as important to maximizing safety is having the proper material handling equipment. This is where you turn to Cherry’s Industrial for all your industrial material handling machinery, tools and supplies.
For over 30 years, Cherry’s Industrial Equipment has been supplying American warehouses with safe and dependable products. We’ve also helped train and equip warehouse workers with the knowledge they need to operate material handling equipment in a safe and secure environment.
Using high quality equipment plays a key role in keeping your goods and employees safe. It results in lower accident rates, less property damage and a better bottom line. Here are some quality pieces of material handling equipment that Cherry’s Industrial supplies to make your warehouse safer:
- Container tilters position parts and containers so workers can reach them with minimal strain. That creates a safe workstation. Choose from lift & tilt, floor level, portable, manual, electric, hydraulic and pneumatic container tilters.
- Aerial work platforms make working at height easy and safe. Work platforms can be attached to a forklift and raised in a warehouse to make elevated tasks perfectly safe. Features include secure railings, safety backings and doors.
- Industrial lift tables increase worker safety by elevating work up to a comfortable level. This eliminates heavy lifting, bending and stretching. Ergonomic strain is gone when your workers have lift tables. Cherry’s Industrial carries manual, hydraulic, electric, and pneumatic models. We can even customize your lift table.
- Machinery skates make relocating heavy machinery safe. These heavy-duty handlers use large industrial rollers to transport heavy loads from one area of a facility to another. They have remarkable load stability to prevent accidental tipping or upsetting. They also provide slip-free transport.
- Roller skids are safely suited for moving loads that range from 10,000 lbs to over 100,000 lbs. Rollers come in steel, polyurethane and nylon to protect sensitive floor surfaces. You can purchase them individually or as a kit.
- Storage cabinets keep dangerous materials, like corrosives and flammables, securely contained. Cherry’s Industrial’s quality storage cabinets are brightly marked in yellow or red and can come with spark-proof, three-way locking.
- Pallet trucks or pallet jacks are some of the most common material-handling tools in warehouses. We carry many options of jacks manufactured for safely moving all different weight capacities. You can select from manual, semi-electric, or fully electric units. We even have all-terrain pallet jacks for outdoor use.
- Pallets improve safety as well as sanitation. Wood pallets are notorious for scrapes caused by nails and rough edges. Cherry’s Industrial has solved those problems with a huge range of specialty pallets. We offer plastic, wire mesh, aluminum and steel pallets for safe handling in many applications.
- Slip sheets are another means for safely transporting goods. Not only do they help separate pallet loads but they also help maximize space within warehouses, trailer trucks, and shipping containers. Since they are made of plastic they qualify.
- Freezer spacers are another safety tool for cold storage warehouses. They are plastic tier sheets designed with air passageways to allow maximum cooling for food products that need to be frozen at a fast rate. They are both washable and reusable.
- Custom material handling solutions are available through Cherry’s Industrial Equipment. Call us to discuss your dimensions, load capacity and functionality. Then we’ll design and build you a custom solution.
Depend on Cherry’s Industrial Equipment for Warehouse Safety
You can count on Cherry’s Industrial to provide you the material handling equipment your warehouse needs. Your safety and business success is our number one priority.
Contact Cherry’s Industrial Equipment for all your material handling needs. We provide quality equipment and deliver proven performance in every warehouse environment. We also help to educate and train your workers on workplace safety.
No matter if you need container tilters, lift tables, pallet trucks or lift platforms we have the right machines for your warehouse requirements. We also have an extensive line of safety supplies like marking tape, guards, barriers and even steel storage cabinets. Call us today at 877-350-2729. Or contact us through our website.