Keeping your employees, equipment, and products safe inside your warehouse is an essential part of ensuring your company’s success. If you are constantly losing production time to accidents, injuries, and property damage, it can significantly impact your reputation and your bottom line. Warehouse injuries are quite common according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the average rate of injuries and illnesses among warehouse workers in 2015 was 5.0 cases per 100 workers. Additionally, the rate of fatal injuries for the warehouse industry is above the all-industry national average, according to OSHA.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve the safety of the interior spaces of your warehouse. Specially designed in-plant safety products, such as barrier systems for area protection and machine guarding, can reduce the risk of accidents, collisions, equipment damage, and employee injuries.
Inherent Risks of Warehouse Interiors
Warehouse operations can be dangerous for both people and objects. The warehouse environment is loud and sometimes chaotic, there are large pieces of equipment moving around, and there is often no clear distinction of safe pedestrian areas. It’s no wonder there are so many OSHA regulations for warehouse operations. Employees who constantly handle and move materials may sustain arm, leg, back, or hand injuries through falls, collisions with heavy objects, or continuous strain on muscles due to improper lifting.
How To Mitigate Warehouse Risks
There are several things you can do to improve your in-plant safety. Perhaps the most important step is ensuring all your employees receive adequate training in material handling and safety procedures. You can also install protective equipment to help protect people and equipment. Here are some effective barrier systems to consider:
- Area protection: Clearly designating certain areas of your warehouse for pedestrians and other areas for equipment such as forklifts can drastically reduce the risk of collisions. Using signage and painting bright lines on the floor is a good start, but installing yellow barriers increases the safety factor even more. You can use steel, flexible, or retractable barriers to designate walkways and add post sleeves and column protectors to identify vertical structures.
- Machine guarding: Heavy machinery in a warehouse can pose risks to employees from moving parts, debris, and welding flash. You can find customized products that surround the equipment to protect people in the area without impacting operations. Automated barrier doors and retractable curtains ensure easy access for designated personnel while protecting bystanders from harmful side effects.
Choose the Right Safety Equipment
The best way to improve the in-plant safety of your warehouse is to choose the area protection products and machine guarding equipment that fits your layout and operational activities. For example, if you have fork trucks constantly moving around columns, adding protectors to those columns should be a priority. If your daily operations include numerous pedestrians walking around different areas of your warehouse, use barrier systems to create protected, clearly designated walking paths.
W.E. Carlson offers numerous types of machine guarding products and barrier systems. With the variety of area protection products, you can find the right combination to keep your equipment and employees safe in your warehouse.