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Ways to Maintain a Safe Warehouse Environment – Part 1

Posted June 19, 2016 12:00 AM by ahorner_22

One of the most important things to have knowledge of when working in an industrial automation or warehouse environment is maintaining a safe workplace for all levels of employees. Jim Malia, Warehouse Manager, and Gary Wenrich, Logistics Operations Manager, both at Radwell International‘s headquarters in Lumberton, NJ, offered some basic operating principles that can help anyone in a warehouse environment operate in a safe manner.

PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC IN THE WAREHOUSE: It’s a great idea to set up a requirement in your warehouse that all pedestrian traffic is to use specifically marked aisles. If your warehouse doesn’t designate specific aisles for pedestrians with clear markings, it’s a good idea to put those markings in place. Having things clearly marked makes it easier for employees to understand the expected behavior when they are moving around in the warehouse. All other aisles should be chained off to prevent people from walking in them while equipment is being used. If a forklift or other large machine is in use in one of the walkways, the aisle should be chained off at both ends and the alternate walkway must be used by all pedestrians. When an aisle is chained off, it let’s pedestrians know that this is not a walking aisle.

MOVING LARGE EQUIPMENT WHEN NOT BEING USED: Any employee utilizing a ladder, forklift, or other warehouse vehicle in a walkway aisle should be sure that the equipment they are using is removed and the aisle is clear immediately after they have completed their work in the aisle. Whenever an employee is utilizing forklifts or warehouse vehicles he or she should be tethered to the vehicle.

PROPER PLACEMENT OF EQUIPMENT ON SHELVES: All items placed on shelves, both high and low, should be pushed back on shelves. This effort helps minimize risk of injury. Items improperly placed could accidentally fall from shelves which would be extremely dangerous to pedestrians and equipment operators alike.

What are some of the safety measures in place at your work site?

For more on warehouse safety, read Part 2 of this series.

Editor's Note: This is a sponsored blog post compiled by Julie Basello for Radwell International. Contributors: Jim Malia, Gary Wenrich.

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#1

Re: Ways to Maintain a Safe Warehouse Environment – Part 1

06/22/2016 10:09 AM

Yes. One of the biggest problems when working around forklifts is people take them for granted. People don't realize that that 12,000/lbs piece of equipment, moving slowly, still hits pretty hard when striking you unaware because it's your body absorbing that impact. Forklifts, along with cranes, are considered the most dangerous pieces of industrial equipment because they are taken for granted all too often. One of the problems I see with people operating forklifts is that they don't very often look behind them when they start backing up after picking up a load. They got their eyes on the load trying to make sure it clears obstacles when they back up. The forklift operator is responsible for the safety of everything around that forklift, when they are operating it. That is an OSHA regulation, however, just because that forklift operator is supposed to be watching out for you, don't assume that he is watching out for you. Assume that he's not paying attention at all times because it's your body that's going to lose if you have an impact with a forklift, no matter how slow that forklift is moving. Forklifts are easy to tip over if not handled properly either. Forklift travelling at 10mph, with forks six inches off the ground and turned sharply is enough to tip it. Picking up a load that is over forklift specified max load is hazzardous because you can easily lose steerageway and spin like a top. Remember, for every inch the load is away from the mast, you add 100/lbs to the weight of the load, that's why fork extensions are never certified and used at your own risk.

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Re: Ways to Maintain a Safe Warehouse Environment – Part 1

06/24/2016 8:58 AM

One thing I have learned is to have the floor slab checked periodically for structural integrity. Hidden undermining of the slab can lead to a dangerous floor collapse! Today, as a matter of fact, a 24 year old young man's family has to make a heartbreaking decision due to such a failure on Cape Cod. :(

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