Five ways to create a safe warehouse environment

A safe warehouse is essential to protecting the physical and mental health of your employees. A safe warehouse will reduce the risk of accidents, injury, breakdowns and unhappy employees in your workplace. 

Productivity is likely to decline when employees feel their safety is at risk. Actively employing strategies to promote a safe warehouse will contribute to an efficient work environment. 

To help you take a proactive approach to improve the health and wellbeing of your employees, here are five ways to create a safe workplace environment. 

1. Educate your employees

Forklift operations demand employees be well-rested, alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. Because of this; your employees’ health and the safety go hand in hand. 

It is crucial that your employees are educated about the safety risks associated with forklift operation. Have your team undergo regular training that is focused on risk reduction, including the use of protective equipment, the procedure for conducting pre-operational and operations safety checks and the importance of reporting hazards to their superior.

2. Keep your warehouse tidy

Aside from helping you to maximise your warehouse space, a tidy and organised warehouse helps to promote a safe warehouse environment. All lanes should be free of rubbish, materials, and other obstacles that may make it difficult to navigate a forklift between aisles. 

While it can be challenging to maintain a tidy warehouse during busy periods, there are strategies you can employ to keep your warehouse in order all year round. For example, by having cleaning supplies and equipment readily available, employees are encouraged to clean as they work. Assign each employee with a cleaning zone. In addition, setting a cleaning schedule can also be an effective way to maintain a tidy workplace. 

By committing to cleaning regularly and setting an example for your employees, you are actively creating a safe warehouse environment. When people see that an area is clean and tidy, they try to keep it that way. A build-up of mess and clutter can lead to a dangerous warehouse.

3. Assess your current warehouse design

When either assessing your current warehouse layout or starting from scratch, it’s important to organise your warehouse with safety in mind. Where possible, aim to limit interactions between pedestrians and forklifts. By establishing a designated operating area with no pedestrian access, you can reduce your risk of unexpected collisions caused by a lack of visibility. 

In addition, when storing stock, it is crucial to think strategically. By placing fast-moving products in an easily accessible section at floor level, you reduce the risk of racks falling and crushing operators. 

4. Use signage and barricades

Signage helps to instruct pedestrians and employees on how to act, behave and respond in particular areas of the warehouse. During forklift operations, the operator’s vision is often blocked, which means signage plays a vital role in warning pedestrians to take caution. In high-risk situations, barricades also help block pedestrians access altogether. 

Additionally, signage ensures that all employees are always on the same page. Even though many warehouses follow similar safety protocols, signage indicates to all employees the exact protocol to be followed. New employees can easily understand the specific safety procedures they need to follow.

5. Increase safety awareness in your warehouse

Setting the standard around safety in your warehouse allows your employees to feel comfortable, confident, and at ease. Start by encouraging clear and open communication during forklift operations. Improving your workplace communication can be a key way to prevent avoidable forklift mistakes, as this allows your employees to remain alert and aware of their surroundings. 

Honking the horn when travelling around corners will help make others aware and signal for them to be extra cautious. Alert coworkers to be on the lookout and give the operator plenty of space to travel.

Finally, it is essential you promote a safe space where employees can speak out if they feel their safety is compromised or have suggestions to improve the safety of your warehouse. 

At Hyworth Forklifts, we put warehouse safety first. We play our part by ensuring our equipment is maintained to the highest standard. If you’d like to purchase a forklift or need advice on promoting a safer working environment, give our expert team a call on 1300HYWORTH.

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