The operation of a warehouse must strictly comply with safety standards. Installations must be designed by professionals for optimal operation in order to avoid costly warehouse setup mistakes. This is important both for the protection of workers and the smooth running of the warehouse.
Poor design, lack of clear signage, or failure to work according to internal regulations and official legislation can compromise the safety of workers. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Warehouse Safety Pocket Guide (pdf), up to 95,000 forklift-related accidents occur each year in the United States alone.
The key to a safe start of operations in a warehouse is forward planning, and designing a facility properly and establishing clear rules in each space should be a priority. Separating areas, using proper warehouse signage, maintaining consistency, and establishing rules help to avoid warehouse setup mistakes.
In addition, it is important to keep employees professionally trained and up to date with the rules of the safety program. Good warehouse planning from the start also helps businesses continue to grow in a sustainable manner if and when expansion of facilities becomes necessary.
Warehouse setup mistakes of design
Poor planning, poor design, lack of space or mishandling of materials can all cause damage to the facility. The following tips are important to avoid common warehouse setup mistakes and therefore minimize risk in the workplace.
1) Lack of signage
Signage is particularly important in the operation of a warehouse, serving to warn personnel about possible dangers that may occur in some areas. Signs alert people to the locations of safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, as well as hazards. Those can include flammable substances, corrosive materials, falling hazards, loading and unloading docks.
2) Lack of lighting
A warehouse must have all its areas illuminated. Personnel must be able to clearly see any area and be aware of possible hazards they may encounter, such as objects on the floor, overloaded shelves, spilled substances, or machinery in operation. Regularly checking lighting fixtures and reporting any malfunctions as soon as they occur is important to keep everyone in the warehouse safe.
3) Management of hazardous substances
Warehouses may use substances that are considered potentially harmful and therefore subject to legal restrictions and regulations. If this is the case, they should always be stored in appropriate containers that conform to said regulations. So failure to designate appropriate areas for storing such substances is a warehouse setup mistake to avoid.
Warehouse setup mistakes that lead to accidents
Controlling hazards and preventing accidents are critical considerations when designing a warehouse or distribution center, so among the most important warehouse setup mistakes to avoid are those that fail to properly minimize these risks.
4) Fire hazards
Fires or explosions can occur in areas with flammable materials or substances. Extreme precautions should be taken, and smoking will be prohibited in appropriate areas. The areas that pose the greatest risk should be clearly marked. Staff must know where the fire extinguishers are located and be trained to use them in case of the presence of fire. In addition, it is important to have a good ventilation system throughout the building.
5) Electrical power failures
Warehouse setup mistakes with installation of the electrical system can result in short circuits, blackouts, or even fires. It is important to monitor plugs and sockets with regularity in order to ensure that they are kept in good condition and not overloaded.
6) Rack overload and falling objects
A common source of warehouse setup mistakes is when installing facilities for storing materials. This means choosing warehouse racking that best suits your needs, and guaranteeing that loading and picking areas are designed to allow proper access for people and vehicles, such as forklifts.
Warehouse setup mistakes related to personnel
While some of the warehouse setup mistakes to avoid include those that put people at risk, other are those that fail to properly prepare personnel for hazards and other dangers present in the facility.
7) Lack of staff training
Warehouse setup mistakes are not limited solely to infrastructure. Failure to implement proper staff training is a mistake that can be costly. Employees who are aware of the correct regulations in each area can prevent accidents from occurring, helping the warehouse run in an organized and efficient manner.
8) Provision and storage of safety gear
In a warehouse, helmets, boots, gloves and other protective clothing will often be required, and guaranteeing access to it for anyone using the space is important. Failure to install facilities for the proper storage and ease of access to that gear another of the warehouse setup mistakes to avoid.
9) Prevention of falls
Falls can occur due to objects on the floor or spilled materials on it. So an important part of warehouse setup is providing access to signage to alert others to such hazards, as well as the opportunity to cordonoff areas that should not be accessed.
10) Avoidance of collisions
Accidents such as collisions can occur if workers do not follow correct procedures when moving through designated machinery areas or due to operator distraction. To prevent collisions, it is important that areas where people and vehicles will be sharing space are properly marked.
Serviap Logistics offers warehouse setup services
At Serviap Logistics, we provide and install warehouse features in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States.
Those include racking, labels, signage, floor marking, and collision protection. We also offer project management services, and can oversee your warehouse setup, refit, or relocation from start to finish.
We count some of the world’s biggest companies among our satisfied clients and partners, covering a wide range of sectors, including automotive, e-commerce, and wholesale, among others.
As a family-run company that has grown internationally after starting out in Mexico, we are committed to service excellence and pride ourselves in providing a personalized service to every client.
We are also dedicated to upholding the highest safety standards wherever we work, including being OSHA certified in the United States.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you with your warehouse racking.
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