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Warehouse safety: 5 tips for supply chain providers

Last modified: June 10, 2016

Warehouse safety plays a vital role in keeping service supply chain operations running smoothly. Flash Global, a leading provider of end-to-end service supply chain solutions, has three Global Service Centers, 17 Distribution Centers and more than 750 Forward Stocking Locations in its worldwide network, and they go to great lengths to ensure these facilities work at peak performance by ensuring a safe working environment.

Working in a warehouse exposes employees and visitors to a variety of potential hazards and dangerous situations. Falls, especially from substantial heights, and misusing machinery are all too common if proper precautions are not taken.

Here are five critical steps that should be taken to ensure a safer, more efficient working environment.

Warehouse Safety Tip No. 1: Provide proper gear, safety training

Warehouse workers often interact with objects and chemicals, so protection from impact and burns is a must. All warehouse workers should have head-to-toe protection, which includes:

  • Helmetswarehouse safety protective gear
  • Face shields
  • Ear protection
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Vests
  • Kneepads
  • Respiratory protection

Industrial impact-absorbing floor mats help reduce strain on knees, shins and ankles. Those working with heavy loads and heavy machinery should also have knowledge of ergonomics, and everyone should understand the importance of proper lifting techniques.

Regularly scheduled training sessions and safety meetings should take place on many topics, including forklift operation, the handling of HazMat and goods such as lithium ion batteries, lifting techniques, and the use of box cutters, to name a few.

Warehouse Safety Tip No. 2: Display easy-to-understand signage

Everything in a warehouse should be properly identified. This includes the contents of a crate or box, and the labels should include information such as which customer owns the inventory, how to handle the item, and how to store it (including temperatures, whether it can be stacked or not, etc.). Machinery should also have proper operating instructions clearly visible.

Signs identifying which areas have restricted access and who has authorization to access those areas should be posted, along with designated areas for hazardous/flammable materials, accepting new shipments and preparing items for shipping. Safe vehicle routes throughout the facility also must be clearly identified, along with all exits and the location of fire extinguishers.

Warehouse Safety Tip No. 3: Use protection tape and guard rails

Anti-slip tape and guard rails can help prevent falls. Guard rails should be present in areas where there is a risk of falling. Use anti-slip tape in areas such as stairs, inclines and ledges. Safety mats offer additional protection against falls and slips.

Warehouse Safety Tip No. 4: First-aid kits should be easy to locate

This is a no-brainer, and every warehouse should have easy access to multiple kits. In larger warehouses, especially, portable kits are also recommended, along with eye-wash stations.

At minimum, each first-aid kit should contain adhesive tape, bandages, ammonia inhalants, pads, cold packs, eye wash, antiseptic wipes, burn spray, aspirin, gloves, scissors, cotton applicators and tweezers.

Warehouse Safety Tip No. 5: Tagout/lockout policies and procedures in place

This is a method of disabling or shutting down a machine to prevent access. In some cases it can include blocking access to electrical equipment. One reason for this is to allow a machine to be safely serviced. Learn more about this by studying  the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

Warehouse Safety: It’s in the details

It’s hard to find a single-source provider who customizes service supply chain solutions to each customer, and harder still to find one that scrutinizes every detail from end to end. Flash does just that, right down to ensuring its warehousing distribution channels put safety first to work at peak efficiency.

Contact Us to learn more about specific warehouse and distribution services, and how they fit into Flash Global’s holistic service supply chain solutions.

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