Logistics jobs involve the detailed coordination of people, supplies or facilities in what is normally a fairly complex operation. Setting up a supply chain has to be done in such a way as to maximise efficiency and be cost effective. On the factory floor and in the warehouse the health and safety of employees is also paramount, and it’s vital to have a safe work system in place.
Here are a few tips on implementing best practice in the warehouse.
Selecting the right equipment
Non-automated products used for storage and handling in warehouses include shelving, pallet racking and carts; purchasing good quality equipment will ensure they are well made and durable. Common motorised warehouse vehicles include automated cranes and forklift trucks that are designed to handle heavy loads. All equipment should be regularly checked and meticulously maintained in good working order. This includes warehouse safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
Appointing the right staff
All employees with warehouse jobs have a duty to behave responsibly. From an employer’s perspective, having a good code of conduct in place will help ensure that negligent or reckless behaviour is not tolerated. It is also the employer’s responsibility to make sure people using mechanical handling equipment are adequately trained. For example, UK government guidelines recommend that people in forklift operator jobs should have basic training, specific job training and familiarisation training under close supervision.
Minimising injuries at work
The layout of a warehouse plays an important part in keeping employees safe. Ideally, vehicular and pedestrian access should be separated.If this is not possible, designated pathways and traffic routes should be built in to the warehouse floor plan.
Many injuries in warehouse environments arise as a result of slips, trips and falls.A good warehouse manager will ensure that aisles and pathways are kept obstruction-free, especially at ground level. Remember that liquids spilling can make surfaces unsafe and slippery so deal with these promptly.
Proper maintenance of warehouse equipment is essential as accidents can happen due to defective, faulty or badly maintained machinery. Similarly, employees who use equipment incorrectly can injure themselves or others if they do not have the correct training.
- When designing the layout of a warehouse, aim to minimise the need for vehicles to reverse and avoid using routes that include sharp bends or blind corners.
- Check regularly for any obstructions of warehouse aisles. This might include scanning for goods, strapping loops, waste packaging and pallets.
- Maintain all floor surfaces properly to reduce the risk of pedestrians stumbling and vehicles overturning.
- Make sure areas affected by spillages are cordoned off until the debris is cleared up.
- Qualified staff should carry out inspections of equipment at regular times in accordance with the Health & Safety Executive’s ‘Workplace Health & Safety Welfare Regulations and ‘Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998’.
- Full and accurate training should be given to employees required to use machinery or equipment by properly qualified individuals, including regular refresher training even for experienced staff.
- Make sure all employees are aware of code of conduct that they must follow.