Warehouse Productivity and Safety Tips

Due to its fast-moving nature, it’s no surprise why slips, trips, and falls are more common in warehouses. Accidents — no matter how big or small — can impact the business as they can cause a reduction of sales, loss of productivity, low staff morale, and, worse, business closure. Owning or running a warehouse is profitable, but only if you have safe and productive employees. Compromising either can shorten the lifespan of your business. To boost your employees’ productivity without putting them and the business at risk, take a look at the list of warehouse productivity and safety tips below. 

Maintain Equipment Regularly

Warehouse equipment requires regular maintenance to ensure that it’s in tip-top condition. Aside from conducting checks before and after use, scheduled service should be conducted to replace used or damaged parts and prevent issues from getting worse. 

Your generator should also be regularly checked by a commercial electrician, even when not in use. Commercial electricians have the experience and tools to properly check oil and fuel levels, tighten any loose bolts and nuts, and clean debris that has built up in the generator. 

Observe Proper Ergonomics

The benefits of ergonomics in the workplace don’t stop at injury prevention; it also improves employees’ well-being and the quality of their work. Proper ergonomics also help cut costs, as businesses can easily attract and retain talent.    

The application of proper ergonomics in the warehouse can be divided into three categories:

  • Placing and picking tasks: Employees should use proper lifting techniques, utilize mechanical assistance (like lifts and pulleys) when handling heavy items, and not overload carts. 
  • Packing tasks: Employees should position the products in a way that they will not twist or extend reach when packing and minimize the need to carry heavy items by using carts and roller tables. 
  • Receiving and shipping tasks: Employees should place the load between their shoulders and knees whenever possible. Heavy loads should be placed between elbow and knuckle height.

Ensure Employees Wear Safety Equipment

Anyone who enters the warehouse should wear Proper Protective Equipment or PPE at all times. This should be followed regardless of their position and the scope and duration of their work. 

Some of the most common types of PPE used in warehouses are:

  • Body protection (lead aprons, arc flash suits, and molten metal suits)
  • Eye protection (face shields, welding helmets, and safety glasses)
  • Foot and leg protection (insulated boots, reinforced boots, and welder’s spats) 
  • Hand protection (cut-resistant gloves, impact-resistant gloves, and insulated gloves)
  • Head protection (hard hats, bump caps, and headwear)
  • Hearing protection (earplugs and earmuffs)
  • Respiratory protection (respiratory masks)

The type of PPE employees wear depends on their working environment. For instance, employees who are at risk of heavy falling objects or bumping their heads should wear head protection. Those who are exposed to the bright lights of a welding arc or flying debris from a machine shop should wear eye protection. Enforcing proper PPE use is crucial for workplace safety. PPE detection systems such as Protex AI monitor gear usage, bolstering safety protocols and minimizing accidents.

Train Employees

Your efforts to create a safe and productive working environment will go down the drain if you don’t have well-trained employees. Even with regularly maintained equipment and high-quality PPE, accidents can still occur if employees don’t know how to use these resources. 

With this in mind, always prioritize providing warehouse safety training for all employees. New employees should receive extensive training on warehouse safety before they’re allowed to work on-site. Existing employees should undergo refresher courses throughout the year. 

Most importantly, supervisors and team leaders should set a good example to the workforce by reevaluating their knowledge of basic safety and emergency procedures. They should also follow all safety precautions 24/7 and motivate employees to do the same. Investing in employee training makes it easier to maintain a strong culture of workplace safety. 

Post Warehouse Safety Procedures in Different Areas

You can implement various safety procedures in your warehouse, but some will admit “forgetting” them. Prevent this situation from happening by posting warehouse safety procedures in different areas around the warehouse.

Ideally, the poster should contain information on how to handle hazardous materials, the proper lifting techniques, how to operate specific machines, and many others. The content of the poster should depend on where you plan on posting them. 

Additionally, the poster should also describe what employees should do when accidents or emergencies occur. For instance, posters directing employees to the nearest first aid kits, eyewash stations, emergency exits, and fire extinguishers should be visible in your warehouse. 

Encourage Cleanliness and Organization

Maintaining a safe and productive warehouse doesn’t always require complex procedures. Encouraging everyone to clean and organize their work areas can go a long way.

Having clean work areas significantly reduces your employees’ risk of accidents and injuries. It’ll also help them do more during the day as they can find items fast. 

To ensure that work areas are clean and organized all the time, encourage employees to empty their trash regularly, pick up items or debris they see on the ground, and label their files accordingly. It’s also important to give rewards regularly to motivate employees to remain consistent with their efforts. 

Prioritize Communication 

Communication plays a vital role in keeping your warehouse safe and your employees productive. Regularly communicating safety regulations, policies, and standards will give you peace of mind knowing that the entire workforce is on the same page on all things safety-related. This kind of environment will reduce their risk of injury and other health-related issues. Investing in communication solutions like a voice API by Plivo allows your business to handle different calls and keep in touch with not just your customers, but your warehouse employees alike within one system.

Asking for feedback from employees will also help you gain better insight into safety concerns that you still haven’t addressed in the past. Doing this regularly will encourage employees to speak out, and their morale, as you’re providing a platform for them to share their thoughts. 

Work as a Team

Implementing the tips presented in this article significantly reduces your employees’ risks of injuries and accidents. As a result, their productivity levels will improve. 

Gradually introduce the tips here to your workforce and work on getting their buy-in. This will ensure collaboration and the success of keeping your warehouse safe and productive!