Warehouses today require a rapid pace. A consequence of this speed is a reduction in environmental awareness. While we expect everyone on our teams to act responsibly, experience tells us that accidents will still occur.
We’ve all seen the viral videos of forklift accidents in a warehouse. As a safety professional your thoughts while watching will most likely turn to keeping your own team and safe and facility out of the news. These videos highlight the need for both ongoing safety training and proper safety equipment to ensure that your employees are safe.
Guardrails and safety barriers are a crucial part of ensuring that your employees are safe. Without them, your protections rely heavily upon workers doing their jobs correctly, not getting distracted, and not taking shortcuts. However, there’s more to it than simply passive protection. For example, forklift operators are simply less apt to hit a barricade or guardrail than they are to drive off a painted line. These upright barriers are much more visible than paint lines. Pedestrians are far more likely to stay within a walkway when they physically cannot stray outside of it. In other terms, sometimes warehouse personnel and guests see a painted floor as suggestions, while a rail-protected walkway leaves no doubt that its use must be enforced.
We know that we have hazards in our plant, but what is the best way to protect our people? At Kee Safety we follow the guiding principles behind the Hierarchy of Controls.
In our experience the key is to find balance. The most effective solution is often the most impractical, while the most practical solution is also the least effective. When inspecting facilities, we will look for ways to eliminate or substitute hazards, but we will most likely recommend engineering controls, or isolating people from the potential hazard.
A quick search on YouTube will show you how foolish people can be. Do you really want to put the future of your business into the hands of a forklift operator? People are very resistant to change, but by putting controls and barriers in place, you can protect your company and its workers.
There are many products available to help with your warehouse safety program. However, the key word here is assist. No product is fool proof, and some aren’t suitable if your staff isn’t trained on how to use it as well as the dangers of not doing so. Perform a hazard analysis, choose the best protection for your workers, eliminate as much of the human factor as you can, and train your workforce so that you can maximize the effectiveness of your safety program.
Contact us today to help you assess and solve your warehouse hazards.
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