With manufacturing growing at the fastest pace in 2.5 years, it is important to remember the critical nature of warehouse safety. Warehouses are working environments that absorb increased inventory and there is a potential for unfortunate injuries to occur when proper safety protocols aren’t followed. The most important safety rule for a warehouse falls on management and their proper scheduling so employees have time to rest between shifts and aren’t rushed beyond following safety measures, but there are also procedures “on the floor” which help prevent injuries during daily warehouse operations.
Common Warehouse Injuries
According to OSHA statistics, some of the most commonly reported warehouse injuries involve improper lifting, repetitive motions which cause accumulated stress to the back or knees, forklift accidents, or the collapse of items which were improperly stacked and stored. These types of accidents often have a common explanation of employee fatigue and speed expectations which in turn leads to a lack of attention concerning maintaining safety measures.
Layout of Shelving for Forklift and Foot Traffic
Ideally, from a business perspective, the warehouse is likely to expand its operations over time, especially if the pace of manufacturing growth continues on its current trajectory. As this occurs, it is important to redesign or replace shelving units as needed to maintain aisles which allow for forklifts to operate safely while hands-on floor assistance has room to also move through the area. When shelves are overstocked and especially when merchandise is stacked on the floor, forklift drivers can’t always see pedestrians who in turn don’t know what maneuvers the driver may be about to conduct which creates an accident just waiting to happen.
Safe Storage Techniques
The proper use of adequate shelving units effectively increases the space a warehouse can effectively and safely use. Proper sized shelving for the task at hand eliminates dead space between units and allows merchandise to be stacked higher allowing for better use of the warehouse’s ceiling height. It’s important to remember that the higher a product is stacked it becomes even more important to store it properly to prevent a fall, but when proper equipment and training are provided, and the safety routine is followed, stacking higher is safer and more efficient than simply leaving boxes on the floor because they have nowhere to go.