Warehouse safety is an issue that often sounds over-flogged. Yet it seems there is a story of an accident or a hefty fine handed down in the papers every week. Why do accidents still abound, even in 2015, with the best tech going into creation of these machines?
Some blame the industry for not enforcing HSE rules. Some claim management is at fault. Yet others say staff don’t heed safety rules. I say it’s everybody’s business. My view on safety is summed up by a ‘sign ‘ I saw in a warehouse. In the lobby of the building, there is a mirror. On top of it, a sign says “This is the person responsible for safety”. Get it?
Individual safety and by extension, collective safety is everyone’s responsibility. It starts with YOU.
Every corner of the warehouse has the potential for causing an accident. On and around the rolling dock, all walkways, around the conveyor belts, everywhere. All it takes is a moment of lapsed concentration and it happens.
How then can you make safety a habit, and keep a culture of safety in your warehouse?
Staff training is paramount.
Forklift drivers, pickers, LLOP riders, everyone needs to be reminded of how their actions impact others. Carrying out initial training, requiring certification and refresher courses are important to maintain a minimum level of awareness. But what happens when you start with that? There are no guarantees that it will be adhered to. The following are our tips for fostering a better safety culture.
Constant communication is the cornerstone to an excellent safety record.
If a member of staff sees something wrong, they must immediately report it to their line manager. This also goes both ways. Hold talks with staff regularly on the importance of safety. Keep them up to date with changes in the industry. Encourage them to come to you with any suggestions they may have.
The dangers faced by a forklift driver offloading pallets from a HGV in the rain are different to those faced by a sorter working on the carousel. While pinched fingers and a tipped forklift are both accidents, being specific on how to avoid them will go a long way with preventing accidents. If you are worried about them remembering all the details, provide them with checklists, manuals, guidelines etc.
We tend to get a bit comfortable when we have done a job for a while.
This is simply not acceptable on the warehouse floor. Keep an eye out for employees who may be getting a bit sloppy with their attitude. Have a one-on-one chat with them. All unsafe attitudes must be corrected else they impact negatively on your safety record.
Use recognition and praise as an incentive.
Friendly competition between sections can be encouraged. A reward of a plaque on the canteen wall may be enough to make your staff go the extra mile.
Make safety a collective goal.
Don’t let employees approach safety as something they ‘have to do.’ Make it something they are pleased to do – because they want to. Getting home safe and sound and in one piece is the goal at the end of a long day at work. Help your employees see the value in making the right and safest decisions.
Training will kick-start the safety drive. Re-training will help refresh waning attitudes, but it is the constant watchfulness of the safety manager and his team that will help keep your warehouse accident free. Incorporate these steps in your weekly briefing and see how accident rates plummet. SRL Ltd encourages all warehouse staff to be on the lookout for hazards and enforce safety in the warehouse.