It’s no secret that there are many different injuries that can occur on a busy warehouse floor. In order to protect workers and keep your warehouse running smoothly, you need a wide variety of safety equipment ranging from the obvious to the obscure. But what safety products are the most vital, you might ask? Here are six of the most important pieces of equipment to keep workers in your warehouse safe:
1. Signs and Labels
One of the best ways to keep warehouse employees safe is to post signs and labels warning of any potential dangers. For example, signs should indicate who is permitted in certain areas, warn of all fire or electrocution hazards and inform employees of where smoking is and isn’t permitted. You’ll also want labels indicating both how to operate all machinery as well as which containers hold fragile or flammable materials. Here’s a good rule of thumb: when in doubt, always over-label.
2. Machine Guarding
Machine guards are essentially a barrier or ‘shield’ designed to cover dangerous parts of manufacturing equipment. These guards protect warehouse employees from flying sparks or chips of metal while also reducing the likelihood of limbs getting caught in grinding gears. The size and shape of machine guarding depends on what machinery it attaches to, so be sure to purchase specialized machine guards for all of your warehouse’s equipment.
3. Anti-Slip Tape
When warehouse employees are operating or working in the vicinity of heavy machinery, a simple slip can become the cause of a serious injury. Preventing these accidents is the purpose of anti-slip tape, which can be attached to inclines, stairs and ledges as well as the floor space surrounding hazardous machinery. The tape works by creating heavy friction between the tape and workers’ shoes, thereby reducing the risk of slip-and-fall injuries.
4. Personal Safety Gear
Arguably the most essential safety products for any warehouse are sets of personal protective gear to cover employees from their ankles up to the tops of their heads. Depending on the machinery being operated, your warehouse may need hard hats, knee pads, vests or face shields to avoid injuries caused by heavy impacts. You should additionally provide all workers with safety goggles if hazardous chemicals will be handled as well as ear plugs if noise levels are high enough to cause hearing damage.
5. Safety Rails
Safety rails are designed to prevent moving forklifts from entering areas that see heavy employee foot traffic. You should also have proper signage in place to warn forklift operators to stay out of these areas, but safety rails will physically prevent a forklift from getting through in case an operator has a mental slip-up. Forklift-related injuries can be gruesome, so be sure to install safety rails in any area where they could conceivably be needed.
6. Proper Ventilation
One of the most overlooked warehouse safety features is a ventilation system powerful enough to remove machine exhaust fumes and other potentially harmful gases. Many of these gases can cause serious damage to employees’ respiratory systems if they aren’t cycled out of the warehouse, and certain gases are also flammable or even explosive. Additionally, having cleaner, fresher air to breathe will keep your workers generally happy and healthy.
On their own, none of these pieces of safety equipment are enough to keep warehouse employees safe. The key to warehouse safety is a comprehensive approach that addresses all possible dangers, no matter how unlikely they may be. Only by considering all eventualities can a busy warehouse floor be kept truly safe.