Everyone knows that safety is a huge concern in business. Whether it’s in the office, a warehouse or a factory, as an employer you should be aware of all the dangers that your workplace presents and how you can minimise the possibility of an injury. But what exactly does this imply, and how can you as a business owner discover these threats and deal with them in a timely manner?
What type of concerns are there in a warehouse?
Safety should be the top priority the moment you decide you’re going to open a workplace that houses dangerous machinery or hazards. Here are some of the most common safety concerns that you need to worry about in a warehouse:
- Exposure to harmful substances – If you’re dealing with toxic chemicals or harmful substances, then you need to ensure your staff are well-protected from the potentially harmful things they can come in contact with. This can mean safety gear, proper containment of said harmful substances, and an understanding of what those substances are and what they can do to affect the body. If you’re dealing with harmful substances, you will need an expert on-site to advise you on how to handle it without exposing your staff. You will also need to have the right tools to clean up potential spills without harming your equipment or your employees.
- Equipment accidents – Heavy equipment can be involved in many different accidents. From collisions on forklifts to employees being in the way of heavy machinery, there are plenty of different accidents that could result in an injured employee or, even worse, a fatal accident. This can also happen if your employees underestimate how much force a machine has, or how powerful a certain feature is. Ensure that your employees understand the risks associated with managing this machinery and teach them how to properly operate it. You should also set off-limit areas if heavy machinery is active in the area.
- Educated employees – As mentioned briefly above, you need to educate your employees on the proper safety measures to take whenever they deal with heavy machinery or harmful substances. A lack of safety education is on the employer, and it’s vital to test your employees before deploying them in your workplace. Make sure they are fully aware of all the dangers, risks and injuries in your workplace before they start working or else you could be liable for their accidents. Provide your staff with a safe working environment and they will be far more effective and safer.
- Uneven surfaces and cracked floors – When heavy machinery is in operation, it’s not unlikely to see floors crack or become uneven as a result of badly distributed weight across your entire warehouse. This can result in slips, falls or worse, damaged flooring that could cost a lot of money and injure employees. Make sure your floors are properly maintained and report any cracks immediately so they can be fixed. It’s often hard to spot these types of uneven surfaces or problems in the ground, so have your warehouse inspected on a regular basis to ensure it’s not suffering long-term issues.
- Ergonomic equipment – You also need to worry about ergonomics. Whether it’s posture and vibration control when sitting in a forklift or teaching your staff how to lift heavy objects properly, you will be responsible for your staff’s wellbeing. If there is a lot of heavy lifting, then ensure there are tools to help them. If they need to operate things such as handles and levers, then double-check that they are ergonomic and can be operated without too much stress.
- Lack of signage – Whether it’s telling your employees what areas are off-limits or telling them to not drive a forklift into a certain area, make sure you have sufficient signage and borders to prevent them from doing something stupid. For instance, if you are using scaffolding with trapdoors, then ensure you have auto-closing industrial swing gates and a fence around the trapdoor so that your employees don’t fall in, and make sure there are clear signs that tell your employees of the potential dangers around them.
These are the most common concerns you need to deal with when operating a warehouse,. Until your staff are able to pass a safety test that is managed by a hired professional, you should not let them start working in your warehouse. As mentioned before, you are liable for accidents and injuries that occur to your staff, so make sure they are well-trained and that you have proof they are trained before you decide to employ them.