Safety, in general, is a crucial aspect of daily operations that sometimes gets overlooked in favor of cutting costs, an apparent lack of time and a shortage in resources. The problem is that when you look at things that way, you fail to see all the benefits that come along with the institution of effective safety measures that in the end will turn out to be a better investment in resources, time and money, without even mentioning things like a higher employee satisfaction rate and increased productivity.
Carefully planned measure and the nurturing of a safety culture are paramount when it comes to keeping workers injury-free. Almost every single element that makes up a warehouse can be considered a potential hazard; that does not mean that one should look at its work environment with fear and trepidation, but instead you should understand the conditions of your profession, and ensure every single member of the team is an agent of improvement who understands the risks and takes actions according to carefully established protocols of workplace safety.
Sometimes the problem lies of the different ideas of safety that team members have depending on their level of responsibility and rank inside the company. Line workers are usually more concerned with the way they are affected by risks directly, meaning they are more concerned about getting back home in one piece, while managers usually think of the big picture and how safety and profitability should maintain a balance at all times. A culture of safety is all about gaining a mutual awareness in which neither side feels like the other’s concerns are counteractive to what their side is looking for, and understand that safety is everyone’s responsibility and that no concern is without merit. A plan to eliminate threats always considers safety first while at the same time understanding the goals of the organization and the importance of maintaining profit and raising productivity.
A constant search for safety
Safety is not a destination, but it is instead a journey to be undertaken every single day. The purpose of safety is to live by it constantly and to understand that you cannot even be complacent and satisfied with what has been accomplished. Instead, there must be a vigilant awareness display by all team members and commitment towards improvement in safety constantly.
Posting the risks
Safety concerns associated with all aspects of the warehouse should be posted near the areas where they may occur. Equipment like forklifts, hand jacks and dollies should display visual reminders that help workers easily identify the risks that come along with using this equipment and the safety precautions to consider when using it safely.
Making standards clear
The right message is sent when you designate minimum safety protocols like the mandatory wearing of safety gear like eye protection, helmets, gloves, etc. depending on the situation. Something as simple as this shows that security is a real concern of the organization and helps promote a culture of making safe practices a priority.
The best way to ensure consistent safety practices is to provide your team with periodic refresher training and not simply save it for when new members are welcomed to the organization. There are many ways this training can be made fun, and that helps people pay attention and understand the importance of safe work practices.
Workplace safety is to be rewarded
Encourage employees to report unsafe work practices or situations they feel are unsafe. Having a program of rewards is a great way to help employees get involved with their safety and take a more personal approach towards making the workplace safer.
Identify and eliminate potential safety hazards
Constant safety checks are necessary in order to ensure that safe practices are constant and ongoing. Any potential hazard that is identified should be eliminated or properly taken care of in order to ensure employees always have an environment in which potential dangers are monitored and eliminated.
Promote a culture of awareness
In order to do this, you must involve everyone in safety practices and have them understand that security is everyone’s responsibility. When safety is accepted as second nature, people are more aware of their surroundings and understand the consequences of their actions, thus being more self-aware of their individual role in making the company a safer place to work.
A safety committee is another great way to get your team involved and empowered. Employees will feel like their role in safety is tangible and real. A safety committee is a great way to designate individuals to be in charge of overseeing training and ensuring that everyone goes through introductory or refresher courses as necessary.
Emergency procedures and signage
Employees must know what they proper procedures are in case of an emergency and proper signage must be made available to help people respond in a time of crisis. These situations are always best avoided beforehand, but in the uncommon event of an emergency, is better to be prepared and know how to react.
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