Warehouse safety should be a priority for your business. Not only does it prevent injuries from occurring, but it can also increase productivity, raise employee morale and reduce turnover.
In this article, we have collated 10 important warehouse safety tips you should implement to achieve your health and safety goals. These include:
- Optimise your warehouse layout.
- Supply and wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Regularly run training sessions.
- Inspect your equipment.
- Invest in forklift trucks.
- Ensure workers maintain speed limits.
- Keep aisles free of obstructions.
- Focus on fire safety.
- Clearly label designated hazardous zones and materials.
- Keep up to date with regulatory requirements.
1. Optimise your warehouse layout.
To improve safety, you should pay attention to your warehouse layout and optimise it regularly. Make the most of your available space and optimise designs based on your loading and shipping areas.
You should also utilise signage to help workers and guests easily understand the risks and other expectations of different areas throughout the warehouse.
Discover seven best practices for warehouse layout optimisation here.
2. Supply and wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
This type of equipment aims to protect workers against health or safety risks at work. Examples include helmets, goggles, high visibility clothing and gloves.
You should conduct a health and safety audit to decide which type of PPE is necessary for your warehouse. For example, if you have forklift trucks in your warehouse, employees must wear a helmet whenever they operate the truck.
3. Regularly run training sessions.
Alongside providing training for all new hires, you should schedule ongoing sessions for staff who have been with you for longer periods. Training sessions must cover all health and safety aspects, including operator forklift truck training, workplace orientation and first aid training.
By regularly running training sessions, you build a safety-first culture, which is said to have the single greatest impact on accident reduction in the workplace.
4. Inspect your equipment.
HSE states that you should inspect work equipment regularly. An inspection aims to identify whether work equipment can be operated, adjusted and maintained safely, with any deterioration detected and remedied before it results in a health and safety risk.
These inspections should be carried out on all types of equipment, from forklifts to pallet trucks and pallet racks. Although these inspections may seem time-consuming, they are crucial for avoiding accidents and preventing people from being seriously injured.
5. Invest in forklift trucks.
Forklift trucks are designed to take on many manual tasks that could potentially be hazardous to employees. These include lifting heavy loads, transporting goods from one place to another and order picking.
By having forklift trucks take on these jobs, you can reduce the threat of accidents in your warehouse.
6. Ensure workers maintain speed limits.
HSE states that you should determine suitable site speed limits based on the type of vehicles using the roadway and its layout, bends and visibility at junctions.
In most cases, limits of 10, 15 or 20 mph are appropriate depending on the vehicles being used in the warehouse.
Whatever speed limits you decide on need to be clearly communicated to your employees. One of the most effective ways to do this is having speed limit signs in your warehouse.
7. Keep aisles free of obstructions.
There are many different types of objects that could obstruct your warehouse aisles. Some of these include packaging, wires and cables.
They are dangerous because they are one of the most common causes of forklift truck accidents.
Training sessions are an excellent opportunity to communicate the importance of keeping aisles free of obstructions. However, having signage in place will also make a difference.
8. Focus on fire safety.
Fire hazards are prominent in warehouses. Therefore, you should carry out fire risk assessments regularly. You should also equip all the correct fire safety equipment in your warehouse and maintain it correctly.
Examples of fire safety equipment that your warehouse should be fitted with include fire alarms, fire doors, sprinkler systems and emergency lighting.
9. Clearly label designated hazardous zones and materials.
HSA states that hazard labels should be used in workplaces that handle dangerous materials. This can be done using a hazard label — the main communication tool for classifying hazardous substances and mixtures.
Signage can also highlight if a particular area of your warehouse is more dangerous than another, urging people to take caution while inside that area.
10. Keep up to date with regulatory requirements.
Warehouse health and safety regulations are ever-changing in the UK. Some of the most important include the Health and Safety Act 1974 and The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).
All of these tips hold equal importance. However, running regular training for your staff is one of the most effective actions you can take. Here at Toyota, we offer a range of health and safety courses which could support your business. Find out what is on offer and the benefits of holding health and safety training below.