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Tips To Keep Your Employees Safe At Work

Greg Dickman

Beyond “Lift with Your Legs”: Practical Tips to Keep Your Employees Safe at Work

When you manage or supervise a busy warehouse, you have many responsibilities. You oversee shift schedules, coordinate with departments, and monitor employee performance. You ensure your team meets production requirements, maintain the facility, and organize inventory. That barely scratches the surface of your duties.

You know that your most important responsibility is your workers’ safety. You train all your employees on basic safety measures, and it’s difficult to know what else you can do to prevent injuries as they work. Here, we’ve gone beyond the common “lift with your legs” advice. Read the following to see what new safety precautions can help you create a safe, productive workplace.

Barricade the Dock

Workers fall from loading docks too often. This can result in serious injury or death—and it is preventable. Close all dock doors when they are not in use.

Sometimes a busy day forces you to keep them open. Another load is coming or going soon, so it doesn’t make sense to repeatedly open and close the doors. If this happens, barricade them with a safety gate or folding security gate. If your warehouse doesn’t have the funds to install a barricade on every dock right now, purchase a potable security gate. You can simply roll it to the open dock.

Enforce Truck Driver Safety Measures

When a truck driver comes to load or unload materials, insist they do three things:

  • Turn off the engine
  • Chock the truck
  • Stand outside the vehicle

Occaisionally a worker will stand between a truck and the dock. When they do this, they are making themself invisible to the driver. If the driver can’t see them, he or she could back up too far and crush workers in their truck’s path.

The three steps might seem annoying or excessive to the driver. It may slow the loading and unloading process. But if you save one life, it’s worth it.

Stack pallets by weight and size

Once you’ve unloaded the truck’s materials, place the heaviest and largest items at the bottom. This seems obvious in theory, but that principle can fall by the wayside when workers rush.

Loads tip over for many reasons, the pallet may have been loaded poorly, or a pallet may be compromised due to wear and tear or even faulty construction. When workers or pedestrians fail to excersice caution in a warehouse they risk becoming involved in workplace accidentsStay clear of loaded forklifts, and pallets just in case. The higher and heavier your pallet stack, the greater the potential for an unstable forklift or load.

Organized pallets create stable loads.

Follow Forklift Weight Allowances

A safer workplace is not the only benefit of proper load building. A properly built load will improve efficiencies as your workers will be more confident in conducting their tasks.

All forklifts are legally required to have a current specification plate mounted in an accessible location. This specification plate should include the forklifts capacities without attachments, and with the installed attachment(s) If the specification plate states the capacity is 4,300 lbs, do not test it beyond that amount. In fact, don’t go near that amount. Make sure that all employees are trained on where to locate the specification plate, and that it is clean and the information is clear. If the specification plate is worn or missing, you are obligated by law to replace it. Know your maximum capacity and the heights that correspond to it, and know every pallet’s exact weight. A company providing proper operator training covers all of these areas, but the pallet and your facility application information needs to come from you.