When you are managing a warehouse, it's vital to make sure you can respond to any workplace hazards — whether they're ongoing risks or unexpected emergencies — with aplomb. As such, you would be wise to conduct regular, in-depth safety audits that set everyone under your roof up for success where safety is concerned, and provide reassurance that you can react appropriately.
When conducting such an audit, these are some of the things you should absolutely consider, and ensure you're addressing everything adequately:
1) Are you training workers about what to do in the event of an emergency?
You may not have been through a fire drill since you were in grade school, but it's always a good idea to make sure your workers can react to a dangerous emergency calmly and properly, according to Toyota Material Handling Northern California. Whether that's as simple as an aforementioned fire drill, a simulated chemical spill or something else that's a unique hazard for you facility, your employees should be ready to react safely.
2) What equipment brings its own safety hazards?
Your company likely uses a number of items in the warehouse that can present safety risks if they're not used properly, Toyota Material Handling Northern California said. Forklifts are an obvious issue in this regard, as they can lead to many workplace injuries, but the same is true of pallet jacks, dollies and even your rack shelving. How prepared are your employees to work safely alongside them all?
3) What safety measures do you currently have in place?
You have no doubt invested in some safety equipment, and it's important to inspect them and make a full accounting of their condition and accessibility, according to Wonolo. This could include looking at whether your emergency exits are easily accessible, if your sprinkler system is in good working order, your smoke detectors and fire alarms work as intended and so on. That way, if something does go wrong, everyone will be alerted as soon as possible.
4) How often are you conducting these audits?
One thing to consider as part of your safety audits is how regularly these audits occur, Wonolo added. If you are only conducting them quarterly, for example, that may not be enough to keep everyone safe, so analyzing the frequency and thoroughness of these inspections is always a good idea. If you find that things need to change, you can start enacting new policies in short order.
5) Are you updating your safety standards as your company grows and changes?
Part of the reasons your old safety audits may no longer cut the mustard is that your business evolves over time, according to Rack Express. What used to be more than adequate when you had fewer employees or less equipment might not be as effective these days, and if your safety efforts aren't growing alongside your workforce, square footage, throughput and so on, you may be doing yourself a disservice.