Warehouses come with inherent risks and hazards. Mitigating those hazards should remain an ongoing effort. Safety measures protect employees from injury and death, and protect the business from liability, lawsuits, and downtime.
You’re expected to implement at least the minimum amount of safety measures, however to completely prevent warehouse hazards for your business you should have all safety solutions in place to maximum hazard prevention.
Here are just a few prevention methods you can do to prevent hazards in warehouses:
1. Adding More Digital Controls
Warehouses are full of complicated pulleys, levers, manually controlled lift systems, and various other instruments that require the use of calibration and manual dexterity. It’s hard to prevent an accident or dangerous situation when an employee has trouble moving a lever, or using rules of thumb to line something up.
Digital controls eliminate a lot of effort as well as guesswork. Just about anything you use in your warehouse can be replaced with a digital version, or retrofitted with digital controls.
Going digital can also help to centralise many warehouse operations. For example, digital controls can help with
- the raising and lowering of lifts;
- the opening and closing of dock gates;
- and even monitoring things like forklift speeds.
Implementing and utilising digital measures can increase safety while also smoothing out and increasing productivity.
2. Adding Sensors and Motion Detectors
Along with digital controls, sensors and motion detectors can also go a long way towards increasing safety and preventing accidents. Sensor technology can do many different things for your warehouse. Here are just a few examples:
- Help control traffic by alerting one section when someone is crossing in another
- Trigger alarms or warnings when there’s activity in a particular area
- Trigger alerts when there’s a clearance issue
- Trigger alerts when something of a particular weight or size enters the wrong area
- Sense when dock doors are about to open or close
Sensors and motion detectors have a tremendous amount of uses. Just like digital controls, you can tie them into centralised monitoring and automation. A sensor can consist of nothing more than a beam of light that creates alerts when something breaks the beam. Or, you can work sensors into every aspect of your warehouse operations.
3. Using Automation
There’s a lot going on with automation. It can play an integral part of your warehouse operations with things like conveyers and automatic guided vehicles. There are sorting and order picking systems out there that require minimal human interaction.
You may not find your warehouse is ready for large-scale automation. But, you may find areas where automation can improve many processes in your warehouse. Automation improves safety by taking out the possibility for human error.
Another way automation can cut back on hazards is in combination with some of the previously mentioned safety methods. For example, if a sensor goes off, automation can kick in to stop an action that may lead to an accident. A forklift backing into an aisle can trigger an alarm, but automation can close a swing gate to prevent it from any further.
4. Upgrading Traditional Safety Measures
All this talk about digital solutions and automation can seem like traditional methods of avoiding hazards in the warehouse are outdated. That’s absolutely not true. You still need safety gates for fall protection, and safety barriers to keep everybody safe.
In fact, if you still make use of nothing more than yellow tape to mark areas in your warehouse, then it’s time to upgrade to barriers. Consider that tape can warn people, but it doesn’t particular stop anything. Having products such as flexible safety barriers fitted into the warehouse can physically keep people out of forklift lanes and keep forklifts from veering into areas where they shouldn’t.
Always strive to improve safety. You don’t have to buy into every new innovative safety feature that comes out, but it’s worth it to look into seeing which ones may benefit you the most.