The 7 Essential Elements of Traffic Safety for Warehouses
Warehouses are filled with safety hazards that can result in injury, illness, and fatalities. Some traffic safety hazards common in warehouses include involvement with open-bed trucks, forklifts, conveyors, and docks.
But hazards are not limited to machinery. Traffic safety can be affected by any hazard interfering with safe movement across the workplace.
There are three main ways to address these traffic safety concerns:
- Engineering controls: Involve making necessary changes that render a safety hazard inaccessible.
- Administrative controls: A set of rules or work practices that eliminate the hazards.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE): Include gears that protect individual warehouse workers.
The above hierarchy of controls helps to prevent accidents and improve safety in a warehouse.
Below, we have broken the above-mentioned controls into individual elements that enhance the traffic safety of warehouses.
Element #1: Traffic Safety and Crowd Control Equipment
Warehouse traffic typically involves workers and visitors, forklifts, flatbed trucks, utility carts, and other types of power vehicles. Traffic control is therefore essential to minimize the occurrence and severity of collisions in a warehouse.
We have discussed the most effective safety equipment you need for traffic control in the table below.
|Security mirrors and reversing cameras||Help vehicle operators in a warehouse to see what’s happening around the vehicle.|
|Visual warning devices, like flashlights||Increase traffic safety awareness by warning pedestrians of hazards or obstacles in their path|
|Audible alarms||Help people to recognize and expect hazards from a safe distance|
|Traffic safety products, like safety railing, bollards, and wheel chocks||Guide foot traffic and protect site perimeters against vehicle intrusions. Wheel chocks are the best for preventing accidental vehicle movements and intrusions.|
|Separation structures, like barriers and barricades||They provide more linear protection compared to bollards. Barricades and barriers help outline safe working zones and areas of heavy pedestrian movement|
Element #2: Floor Markings
Floor markings are a practical traffic control measure that help to maintain work zone safety.
They exist in different colors and patterns to keep vehicles and pedestrians separate. For instance:
- Yellow tape should be your go-to when marking off aisles, pathways, and lanes, or to show caution.
- Red is reliable for signaling danger.
- Blue tape is what you need to mark off storage areas.
- Striped tape is best for warning traffic equipment operators of a hazard ahead.
Floor markings also help to minimize traffic around blind spots and at intersections.
Element #3: Anti-slip or Fall Measures
In 2019, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that slips, trips, and falls were responsible for 27.5% of work-injury reported claims resulting in time off.
Warehouses have many slip and trip hazards. These include:
- Slippery floors
- Floor cracks and pits
- Stray cords
- Flatbed trucks
- Product spillages
Conduct regular housekeeping to reduce these hazards. This can involve regular cleaning, eliminating clutter, and repairing any cracks and pits.
Truck Fall Prevention was started by industry veterans with over 70 years of combined experience. We are the manufacturers and suppliers of a series of poles, straps, and hooks, known as the No Falls System.
Our invention reduces falls from flatbed trucks and other high surfaces in the warehouse. The system is easy and quick to install on the sides of flatbed trailers. It enhances flatbed truck fall protection and mitigates the liability of flatbed truck falls.
If you'd like to improve traffic safety in your warehouse with our affordable safety products, we recommend taking our Free Risk Assessment Quiz first.
The quiz will:
- Assesses your risk profile
- Measure it against your competitors
- Give customized recommendations of how you can reduce your flatbed truck fall liability.
Element #4: Signage
Proper safety signs are a valuable asset that contribute to warehouse crew safety. Sign stands remind people of important things that they already know. These include:
- The people with or without permission to access certain areas of the warehouse
- The location of fire exits, fire extinguishers, and other emergency safety products
- Speed limits
- Direct vehicle traffic, e.g., defining right of way standards
- Reminders for all traffic equipment operators to slow down or honk their horns— especially as they approach blind spots for improved pedestrian safety.
Sign stands in areas with high foot traffic help to reduce work-related accidents. They also improve traffic flow and increase efficiency and productivity in the facility.
As an employer or warehouse manager, you’re tasked with providing PPE for employees. You should also train them on the proper use and care of the equipment. As well, you must take responsibility for maintenance and replacement of all PPE as needed.
The right PPE for your personnel will be specific to your situation and the level of wear and tear expected.
Here’s a detailed presentation explaining the general PPE requirements as defined by OSHA.
Element #6: Emergency Evacuation Procedures and Equipment
Lack of a well-communicated and implemented emergency plan creates a traffic safety concern.
It also demonstrates low interest in employee safety and increases the risk of injuries and losses resulting from emergencies.
A good emergency plan addresses different types of emergencies. These can include natural disasters, building fires, explosions, and vehicle accidents.
The plan should stipulate the evacuation protocol and procedures, such as:
- The emergency exit locations
- The facility safety provisions
- List of employee responsibilities
- Contacts of key personnel responsible for off-hour emergencies
- How to account for employees and visitors in case of an emergency
The first step for creating a suitable emergency plan is conducting a risk assessment. From there, you can address the emergency prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery procedures necessary.
Element #7: Training and Refresher Courses
Awareness is the first step to improved traffic safety in warehouses. Therefore, training and refresher courses are essential for ensuring all warehouse staff are up to date with the traffic safety practices and procedures.
It also guarantees that employees understand the consequences of ignoring the procedures.
According to OSHA, training is compulsory for some warehouse employees, such as forklift and truck operators. The training covers workplace-related topics and truck-related topics. It also features the requirements of the 29 CFR 1910.178.
After training, workers undergo an evaluation conducted by knowledgeable personnel to ensure they understand the material.
All operators require a re-evaluation every three years. But evaluation and refresher courses are also necessary when:
- An operator is found operating their power machines in an unsafe manner.
- An operator is involved in an accident.
- An operator is assigned to a new type of truck.
- Workplace conditions change in a way that affects traffic safety in the warehouse.
Reinforce Traffic Safety For Warehouses Using These Elements
Improving the traffic safety of a warehouse comes with many benefits, including improving traffic flow and protecting warehouse workers by reducing accidents.
It will also improve efficiency and productivity, employee morale, and reduce liability claims.
Investing the time and resources necessary will serve as a proactive measure to save you money, time, and the stress that comes with workplace injury settlement claims.
We can help you create a safer warehouse and make sure your workplace complies with OSHA 1910.28 Fall Protection Standards with the use of our No Falls System. Contact us today if you have any further questions about enhancing traffic safety in the warehouse.