Expert Recommendations: How to Implement an Effective Warehouse Safety Policy
A safe and secure warehouse is the heartbeat of any business dealing in transportation and logistics.
Warehouse safety should be at the core of your standards and procedures to mitigate lawsuits, payouts, and time lost due to accidents.
An unsafe workplace is a liability you can’t afford.
Today we’ll unpack what you need to do to tighten your warehouse operations through effective safety protocols.
What Is a Warehouse Safety Policy?
According to the US Department of Labor, the fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all other industries.
That’s why creating a healthy and safe warehouse environment is not an option but a requirement to protect your workers and keep lawsuits at bay. It establishes your business as an industry leader and an employer of note, helping to attract top talent.
You need an effective warehouse safety policy that outlines the activities and steps that ensure a safe working environment for your employees.
The policy should contain specified tasks or generalized descriptions for workplace safety.
You should write down your warehouse safety policy and communicate it to your employees through safety awareness training.
Some areas you can address in your policy document include the following:
- Warehouse safety rules
- Warehouse safety checklist
- Hazard reporting procedures
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Standard operating procedures
- Emergency plans
It’s crucial for any business to regularly assess how to improve worker safety to keep warehouse workers out of harm’s way and improve overall business activity.
How to Formulate an Effective Warehouse Safety Policy
Use standard industry practices and guidelines to draft your warehouse safety measures. You should also incorporate past experiences you’ve encountered in your operations.
Consider all potential hazards in your setting and formulate associated solutions that mitigate those dangers.
According to the OSHA guide, the following are common issues to address in warehouse safety checklists:
- Lift equipment. Ensure that operators receive regular training on how to use and lockout of equipment.
- Hazard communication. Communicate hazards effectively by including all known hazards in your onboarding, refresher training and use clear signage around your warehouse.
- Electrical wiring methods and system design. Check all possible electrical hazards regularly.
- Warehouse floor and wall openings/holes. Holes and openings must not exceed one inch in diameter.
- Exits. Ensure your exits are clearly labeled and unblocked at all times and that you conduct emergency exit drills with your employees.
- Mechanical power transmission. Ensure all machinery is properly oiled and that shafts and flywheels are secure.
- Respiratory safety. Supply your workers with respiratory PPE.
- Lockout or Tagout. All equipment must be safely shut down and unplugged to prevent accidental energization of machinery.
- Portable fire extinguishers. Place all extinguishers in conspicuous positions around the warehouse. Make sure they don’t block doors.
Warehouse Safety Tips: Example Questions For Formulating Anti-Hazard Policies
|Respiratory Safety||Are masks mandatory, and which type?|
|Lockout||What are the OSHA standards for lockout?|
Your policy will be more relevant and easier to implement if you consult with your workers. When you involve employees in formulation they take more ownership of the policy and require less follow ups to implement it.
Set up a health and safety representatives committee for your employees and work together to define each factor in your policy. Remember to allow breaks to confer with other employees.
Successfully Implementing a Workplace Safety Policy
Once your policy is on paper, ensure that everyone involved adheres to proper procedures. The success of your warehouse operations depends on how well you stick to the safety measures.
Take a tour around your warehouse and note down any potential safety hazards. Look for:
- Slip and trip hazards like floor cables or other warehouse debris that can cause serious injuries
- Cracks and holes in the floor and on the walls
- Hanging equipment
- Blurred signage
- Protruding electrical wires
- Roof leaks or dripping taps which can cause rot
- Objects placed near exits
- Improper use of PPE by workers (for instance wearing masks under the chin)
- Forklifts left in the middle of the warehouse
- Untethered windows
- Backed up loading and unloading docks
- Shaking and unsturdy ramps
- Faulty air conditioning
- Overloading and improper stacking on shelves
- Unserviced fire extinguishers
- Extension cords running across the floor instead of against the wall
Besides the obvious hazards, remember that working from elevated platforms, docks, loading bays, or high shelves can result in serious accidents.
Consider Safe Storage Options
Proper management of your storage systems will limit damage or loss of stock due to falling and reduce the risk of injury to your employees.
Your storage checklist should include:
- Maximum allowable stack height. Strike the right balance between maximizing space and preventing goods from falling.
- Materials handling. Decide whether to use powered material handling equipment or manual lifting.
- Proper storage of heavy objects. Improper weight stacking can cause preventable falls, so ensure you arrange your weights accordingly.
Maintain a Clean Workspace
A clean working environment reduces safety hazards which equals safer workers.
When executing your warehouse safety program, have a daily cleaning checklist to ensure the warehouse is always clean and orderly.
Address issues like:
- Allocation responsibility for keeping the warehouse floor clean
- Proper storage of equipment and machinery
- Safe storage of any dangerous chemicals
Get Safety Equipment
Your workers must be equipped with the appropriate safety equipment as and when it’s needed. The following safety equipment will help minimize your risk in the event of human error in the warehouse:
- Proper PPE
- Hard hats
- Safety goggles
- High visibility jackets
- Fall protection for platforms
- Warning signs
- Sirens and alarms
- Fire sprinklers
Having a first aid kit is also a requirement in the event of minor injuries or mishaps. In addition, fire extinguishers at easily accessible points are imperative to maintaining safety standards.
Provide Adequate Training
Your staff complement should be well trained; otherwise, they could injure themselves unwittingly.
Once you’ve put in place warehouse safety programs for your business, it’s essential for your staff to get proper training on the safety standards and how to follow procedures.
Generally, it’s human nature to maintain the status quo and resist change; therefore, you’re bound to face some resistance.
To get ahead of it, create a schedule for compulsory training for all warehouse workers. It also helps to give incentives for successfully completing the safety protocol training.
Most importantly, make training on safety procedures an ongoing exercise in your business. By reinforcing these occupational safety tips repeatedly, you can significantly reduce safety violations.
Expert Tip: use practical training tools like simulations and role-play to show your employees that a safe warehouse is in their best interests.
A Safe Warehouse
A safe and secure warehouse environment means:
- Fewer accidents and disruptions.
- Your employees feel safer and have more job satisfaction.
- A reduction in lawsuits and liability concerns.
If you’re a warehouse manager, you have to ensure strict adherence to your safety plan and protocols to save you money, time, and your business’ reputation.
A census by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on occupational injuries found that the most significant safety concerns in a warehouse setting involved transportation incidences as well as falls, slips, and trips.
To get ahead of these major risk factors, consider installing fall protection solutions.
We provide tried and tested fall-proof mechanisms to improve your warehouse operation.
Flatbed truck fall protection, suitable for road and warehouse use.
Durable straps and fasteners, ideal for preventing any trip hazard.
Our NoFalls system is designed to meet OSHA 1910.28 Fall Protection Standards to prevent falls, keeping your warehouse employees safe, and saving you costly fines.
Take our fall risk assessment quiz and evaluate where your business stands in maintaining a safe working environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the OSHA 1910.28 Fall Protection Standard?
For the general and warehouse industry, if a team member is on a walking/working surface with an unprotected side edge and 4 feet or more above the ground, the employee should be protected by a guardrail, safety net, or fall protection system.
What Are the Requirements for Fit-Testing of Respirators?
Fit testing both negative and positive pressure facepiece respirators is necessary before initial use and one a year after that. Another fit test will be required if there are any changes in the user such as facial scarring that may affect the respirator’s fit.
What Is a Safety Data Sheet?
The hazard communication standard (HCS) mandates chemical manufacturers and distributors to produce safety data sheets (SDSs) for hazardous chemicals.
The sheet should include all details concerning the chemicals, known safety hazards and precautions as part of the hazard warning system.
Accidents are an expensive affair for your business operations. While you may not foresee them, you can plan and prepare for them to keep your operations running smoothly with minimal incidents.
Talk to our experts today for a no-obligation consultation and learn how to get on board with our cost-effective fall protection system. It will help you meet OSHA standards, keep your employees safe and prevent lawsuits.
When a driver nearly sued us after a falling from a flatbed truck we knew we had to get serious about safety. Given how easy the NoFalls system is to use, making it mandatory for all drivers is a no-brainer.