Warehouse safety is a critical aspect which no warehouse manager should take lightly. Safety does not only exclusively sit on the side of the business but the employees during work hours as well. Though you may try to prevent safety incidents from occurring through carefully observed protocols, it’s challenging to know when a disaster may strike. Warehouse safety does not only exclusively sit on the side of the business but the employees during work hours as well. Every year new requirements are being issued in cities and states across the USA and it’s the responsibility of every business to stay informed and up-to-date. That’s why most warehouses hire outside firms to do regular fire safety inspections for their warehouses.

Warehouse Safety: General Guidelines

  1. AISLE SPACING: It’s recommended that you keep your floors, and aisles clean. Get rid of any liquid spills, clutter, pallets and loose chords. Be sure to maintain the floors by keeping them dry, and the aisles clear of clutter to avoid slipping or strapping, which may cause accidents during daily operations.
  2. UTILIZE BARRICADES: The barricades are also critical components of warehouse logistics. It’s vital to ensure that your loading dock doors are well blocked. All barriers should be well placed on the loading floors, raised at least 4 ft above the ground.
  3. PHYSICAL LIMITS: This falls under employee safety. Some employers tend to overlook employee well-being when creating warehouse safety rules. Employees have physical limits, and when you push them to work past these limits, you make them risking their safety. This is why when assigning employees different tasks, it’s crucial that you don’t place very tight schedules and deadlines on these tasks. When employees do activities in haste, chances of slipping, and tripping, increase causing accidents and injury in the warehouse.
  4. PERIODIC REST: It’s also crucial in warehouse requirements that you give employees regular rest in between sessions. This rest is important because tasks which require too much force cause fatigue faster. This fatigue makes the employees feel physically unstable, dizzy, and in worst-case-scenarios, even faint. Apart from the periodic rests in between sessions, it’s also crucial that the rooms are well ventilated since areas with high heat can also lead to the development of heat stroke among other complications.
  5. REGULAR TRAINING & WORKSHOPS: Training employees on the machine’s basics and complex machine operations is also a critical aspect you should maintain in your warehouse. It’s essential that the employees understand the machine specs and most importantly, the safety measures when using the machines.

Equipment Use and Safety 

Under equipment safety, there are three critical factors to consider for warehouse safety:

  1. LOCKOUT-TAGOUT PROCEDURES: Some of the essential lockout-tagout systems you should maintain is ensuring that the machines are entirely shut off before doing any maintenance/repair practice.
  2. PALLET INSPECTION: It’s critical that you perform careful pallet inspection for any hitches, and unordinary wear and tear especially before loading or unloading materials. If a pallet has been damaged, it can break causing materials to fall and injure personnel or rack structures.
  3. FALL PROTECTION: To ensure maximum product fall protection, when unloading materials from vehicles ensure the vehicle is entirely shut off. The brakes should also be steadfast.

Fire Safety, and Mitigation

It’s important to note that warehouse safety procedures can vary based on specific racking regulations and city or state guidelines. Make sure to be informed and always double check your state or local Fire Authority’s guidelines. The ones listed below are only the basics of fire safety. 

Under fire mitigation and safety, there are three aspects to observe:

  1. KEEP AISLE & EXITS CLEAR. In case of fire accidents, blocked aisles/cluttered aisles, and exits are major warehouse safety hazards by making it difficult for employees to escape. Ensure aisles and exits are clean to avoid casualties in case of fire breakouts.
  2. RACK SPRINKLERS & FIRE EXTINGUISHERS: Ensure they’re placed in strategic locations where they’re easy to access. Be sure to maintain a regular checkup and maintenance plan to ensure the equipment is sufficiently maintained.
  3. INSPECT ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS: It is also prudent that you maintain regular inspection of your electrical systems. Check for potential hitches and have them repaired on time to avoid fire risks due to open wires, faulty breakers and fuses, among other potential electrical fire hazards.
  4. SPILLAGES: Lastly, it’s critical that you maintain the warehouse to be clean of any spillage. Fuel spillage can easily cause fires resulting in injuries, loss of inventory, and possibly even casualties.  

Safety and prevention are well worth it

The basic rule of the thumb in every crisis management system is averting the crisis before it strikes. Let Rack Safety Products help you maintain safety and productivity in your warehouse. We are a leader in rack and warehouse safety solutions helping protect products and people. Our services encompass pallet rack safety inspections, warehouse safety audits, audits and survey solutions, etc..

If you’re the type of person to look ahead and are interested in minimizing long-term changes and costs with new safety regulations coming out, we highly recommend you explore California – Orange County Fire Authority Guidelines. They have some of the most strict pallet rack and warehouse safety standards in the country, many state and local fire authority have begun adopting the guidelines as their own.

Industrial Storage Rack Codes & Standards to name a few…

  • International Building Code (IBC – 2015) 
  • ASCE7 – 16 
  • RMI/ANSI MH16.1-2012 Pallet Rack 
  • RMI/ANSI MH16.3-2016 Cantilever Rack 
  • RMI/MH26.2-2007 Wire Mesh Decking 
  • AISI 
  • AISC 
  • AWS 
  • ACI 318
  • NFPA 5000 
  • NFPA 13 FEMA 460 
  • NEHRP Recommended Provisions (Seismic) 

Click here to view all the Rack Safety Products services offered!