The standard warehouse represents an environment where there can be several areas of concern when it comes to health and safety ranging from personnel, heavy machinery and the risk of injuries while carrying stock.
One of the key areas that needs to be managed from a safety perspective is the traffic control system for a warehouse when you are overseeing environments where both workers and vehicles are operating.
Here we outline some of the key steps to take and areas to look at when it comes to traffic control for warehouse health and safety.
1. Designated walkways and aisles
Having marked pathways ensure that pedestrians and workers have safe zones to navigate while staying separate from the flow of vehicle traffic is essential when it comes to reducing hazards. By creating a distinct separation between foot traffic and machinery movement, you reduce the risk of accidents and collisions, promoting a safer and more organised warehouse environment. This also helps with efficiency.
2. Traffic signs, signals and safety equipment
Having visual cues and communication tools help guide both pedestrians and equipment operators. Stop signs, yield signs, speed limit indicators, and traffic lights are crucial in conveying instructions. Additionally, providing safety equipment such as helmets, high-visibility vests, and reflective gear ensures that employees are easily identifiable and protected in high-traffic areas. Ensuring you have the correct safety equipment for covering loose wires and electrical safety matting will help keep you compliant and safe.
3. Warehouse traffic flow
A well-designed traffic flow layout that minimises congestion and bottlenecks can lead to smoother operations which will benefit you commercially and from a health and safety perspective. Regularly analysing and adjusting traffic routes, storage placements, and workspace configurations can help streamline the movement of goods and personnel, reducing the risk of accidents and enhancing productivity.
Warehouse traffic often involves heavy machinery, such as forklifts and pallet jacks, which have inherent blind spots. Addressing these blind spots is critical to preventing accidents. Installing mirrors in strategic locations and training equipment operators to be vigilant about checking their blind spots can significantly enhance safety in areas where visibility is limited.
5. PPE requirements
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) plays a vital role in safeguarding employees in high-traffic warehouse environments. Enforcing PPE requirements, including the use of high-visibility vests, helmets, steel-toed boots, and ear protection, ensures that workers are adequately protected from potential hazards. Prioritising PPE compliance helps reduce the risk of injury and contributes to a safer warehouse workplace.
Ensure you put training at the heart of the safety strategy
The above techniques will help you put compliance in place, but you need to ensure that your staff both full time and seasonal are trained on how to use the equipment safely in the warehouse and how to do their job with safety in mind.
This is where training comes in, both in the form of concrete onboarding sessions and where necessary regular health and safety training. This will increase the uptake of people wearing safety equipment and being conscious of how they operate at work and the subsequent impact it can have on the health and safety of themselves and those around them.