Modern warehouses require speed and efficiency to remain competitive, and safety remains a critical element to ensuring the best possible operations. Every business that runs a warehouse facility and/or a laydown yard should develop and maintain a comprehensive safety program to address hazards that are common to material handling operations. Proper training and routine risk assessments can prevent accidents from happening, and business operating safely and efficiently.
Regulations concerning warehouse safety can be found in OSHA Standard 29CFR, while regulations for maintaining records are available at the ANSI A1234 website. While companies can have varied operations, every safety program should have clearly defined documentation for each area of operation in the warehouse. Each program document should have sections that define the terms used in the document, the training requirements, a list of responsibilities, and rules for operations.
It is important to formally define the terms used in a safety program to remove confusion or ambiguity. Having a single, formal definition for a term ensures everyone is talking about the same thing. Our Resources page has examples of free copies of sample procedures and checklists.
Training is a continual process so that everyone in the company can work safely as a team rather than haphazardly as individuals. Formal training should be given to each employee who works in the warehouse, and specific training should be given to those who operate special equipment or perform specialized tasks.
Every employee should undergo general training. General training should include ergonomics, situational awareness, hazardous condition reporting, cleanliness, and locations of emergency exits and safety gear. Dock boards, forklifts, and pallet jacks are just some of the equipment employees should be trained to safely operate. Construction workers, maintenance crews, and auditors have unique duties and requirements that should be conveyed by training specific to the task.
When it comes to safety, everyone is responsible for following regulations and speaking out in the event of an issue. Having assigned responsibilities beyond safety ensures every individual is clear about what their duties and expectations are.
The benefit of having written operational rules is consistency. If each warehouse operation in the business is listed in a step by step method, there should be no variation or confusion regarding procedures.
Writing an entire safety program for a company can be a daunting task, and it is one that is not a one-time event. Safety program documents must constantly be reviewed and revised when appropriate to stay up to date with changing OSHA regulations or changes in warehouse equipment and processes. Larger organizations have specialized safety managers who keep these records current. For smaller business, it may be beneficial to seek consultation with a third-party company that can build and help maintain a safety program. ASCI has experts in the field of warehouse safety and organization, and can offer assessments and advice on how to safely manage your warehouse. Visit our Resources page to download free copies of sample procedures and checklists.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Kelly recently completed an internship with ASCI. He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor’s degree in Global Logistics Supply Chain Management and a minor in Computer Information Systems. He also received an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Business Analytics. His experience in logistics lies in oilfield supply, inventory consignments, and air cargo shipping, and thanks to this internship opportunity, governmental contracts and blog writing.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907)348-1610 if you would like to set up a free consultation appointment to help with your business’ inventory management needs.