Posts

National Safety Month

Each year, June is designated as National Safety Month®, an observation of safety and injury prevention across all industries in the United States. Administered by the National Safety Council (NSC), the month is a reminder to examine processes and procedures within your organization.

This year, the NSC is focusing on four topics throughout the month, putting a spotlight on mental health, ergonomics, building a safety culture, and driving. Through their website and social media, they will also produce materials including educational articles, infographics, videos, and more, along with posting free collateral on their website.

Storage Solutions will also be participating with a focus on safety in warehouses and distribution centers. That increased awareness of safety products and procedures will include both for your workers, but for your equipment too.

We will also feature information on products and services offered through our partners that serve to increase safety by reducing opportunities for accidents and injuries within a warehouse setting. Some of the products and features will also help adjust to a post-COVID-19 working environment.

As you continue to read and interact with stories this month, we encourage you to adopt a “safety-first” mindset throughout the year. Whether you need safety supply or service, we are here to help you make your facility not only move product as quickly as possible, but as safely too.

For more information on our safety solutions, click here.

Warehouse Safety Solutions

“That will not happen in my warehouse. Our operator training programs are too effective. I do not want the added costs in my bid.”

Look, accidents happen.

Warehouse workers are especially susceptible to injury because of the nature of their occupation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, warehouse workers are getting injured at a rate of 5.1 injuries per 100 workers annually, according to the most recently reported statistics.

While accidents involving forklifts garner much of the attention related to warehouse injuries, falling objects are much more likely to cause serious head and brain injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 93 people died in the U.S. alone in 2016 from being struck by objects in a warehouse workplace.

Because of this type of injury’s severe nature, it is essential to evaluate your current practices and determine if there is a product or solution designed for prevention that you can integrate into your racking system. In addition to preventing workplace injury, these tactics can also prevent inventory loss in an accident or seismic activity.

Whether you are looking to retrofit your current setup or design a new racking system that includes additional safety measures, there are plenty of safety solutions out there to help you and your employees keep peace of mind while at work.

Backstop Beams

Pallet load stop beams – also known as backstop beams—act as a robust physical barrier on the backside of your pallet rack that prevents the product from being placed too far back where it could potentially fall over the edge. Because of the traditional racking configuration, where there may be some pallet overhanging the back beam in the bay, it gives your racking increased security against a potential accident.

The downside of these backstop beams is the cost associated. If you are not including backstop beams as a component of your initial design, there may be some reconfiguration required in your rack installation. The beams often sit back a few inches from your uprights and may interfere with flue space required by fire safety regulators.

Rack Safety Straps

As a less expensive alternative to backstop beams, rack safety straps can easily be installed to support your safety efforts. Straps are mounted to the back of your uprights, preventing pallets and packages from pushing into the flue space or falling off your rack’s back. While these options are sturdy to a point, they are certainly less secure than installing steel backstop beams into your rack. However, because of the cost and adaptability to various configurations, rack safety straps are a popular option to keep workers safe from falling objects.

Netting

Similar to rack safety straps, netting offers a relatively inexpensive option to decrease the possibility of objects falling from your racking system. The mesh acts as a barrier to keeping your products within its designated space. This barrier is especially beneficial in situations where the warehouse worker will need to see through the racking and when there may be loose products or boxes within a bay. However, like backstop beams, netting is best applied during the installation of your racking system.

Wire Backs

Wire back panels are another option to prevent workers from being struck by falling packages and objects. Depending on the gauge of wire used, these wire panels are customizable to help contain the size and heft of the loads in your warehouse. Wire back panels are most similar to netting as a containment option, though wire backs are more durable & better at containing heavier loads. Wire back panels are the most effective method for rack back protection & thus have a higher cost associated with their use.

Find Warehouse Safety Solutions to Fit Your Business

While each of these options has its benefits and drawbacks, increasing safety within a warehouse is paramount for warehouse and safety managers. If you are looking to integrate additional safety products and solutions into your operations, give us a call. We can help you navigate the regional regulations you may be subject to and offer low-cost, high-reward solutions that may augment the level of safety in your workplace. So much of finding the right solution depends on the configuration and layout of your racking. Let us guide you to the right solution for your warehouse.

Going beyond the minimum regulations –whether they are put forth by your municipality or insurance provider – provides benefits beyond the numbers. After all, the prevention of workplace injury will pay for itself compared to the cost of potential injury – or worse – to an employee.

Warehouse Safety Solutions

As states across the country begin to lift restrictions considering the COVID-19 crisis, managers are working on creating work environments with safety at the top of mind to prevent an expansion of the virus. This “new normal” will likely feature new processes and operations to which your team will need to adjust.

To make this transition smooth and void of disruption, managers need to take some time and evaluate tools, products, and processes that can help keep employees safe and productive.

Below, we have highlighted the warehouse safety solutions that warehouse managers are adopting to help keep their employees safe. If you are in this stage – or are about to be – let’s talk about your operations and see if there are any options that suit your needs. There are options out there that, for a relatively low cost, can keep your operations running smoothly while still maintaining an appropriate social distance.

Limit the Number of People in Your Warehouse with Building Access Cages

Building Access Cages are installed at the entry points of warehouses and are designed to control who can access your facility. By creating this additional level of security, you can help prevent unnecessary contact with the outside world and restrict the number of humans unnecessarily coming into contact with your staff. These cages are adaptable and offer the benefit of avoiding unwanted disruptions and keep people safe within your day-to-day warehouse operations.

Integrate Dynamic and Technology Solutions to Lessen Dependency on Human Interaction

Technological solutions, such as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), offer several benefits to a warehouse’s operations, including an increase of safety. In zone picking situations, for instance, the robot can take a package from one destination to another, limiting human-to-human contact and keeping employees within safe, designated zones. Not only does that reduce wear-and-tear on the body, but it also allows your staff to remain productive while maintaining social distancing within the operation.

Keep a Safe Social Distance with Employee Separation Panels

Employee Separation Panels are clear, portable panels that can protect your team from human-to-human contact by physically creating a barrier between groups or individuals. With no timetable for how long we can anticipate social distancing requirements, this is a low-cost, high-reward tool to implement into your warehouse while giving your employees peace of mind and may prevent workers from missing additional time due to an illness they may have contracted. Plus, with cold-or-flu season seemingly always around the corner, this is a tool that can keep your team productive year-round.

Install Additional Machine Guarding to Separate Operational Groups

From a COVID-19 safety standpoint, fencing such as machine guarding can help keep groups together – and in some cases, separate groups entirely. For instance, if you have a maintenance area that may have a tool that another group uses, you could create a machine guarding barrier to prevent individuals from going into an area they were not intended to be within. This is a low-cost solution that prevents groups from intermingling during this time but can be easily removed once restrictions on social distancing are removed.

Reduce Bacterial Concerns with Antimicrobials Mats

Ergonomic mats are ideal solutions to protect your employees from the wear-and-tear that comes with working in a warehouse setting. By introducing antimicrobial matting – commonly found in foodservice and medical settings – you can help eliminate cross-contamination hazards on your floor.  These mats are produced with an antimicrobial additive that reduces bacterial contamination concerns. Because these mats are also designed for healthcare settings, you can trust that they are effective in curbing the spread and multiplication of microbes.

Decrease the Number of Touchpoints with Key Fobs and Keycards

Typically, we recommend that warehouses work with key fobs and keycards anyway to help reduce unwanted visitors and to ensure that your facility is always safe. By reducing the number of touchpoints –locations upon which every employee touch – you will limit the exposure to any harmful bacteria that may be living on that surface.

Supply a Modular Location for Changing Clothes

During the COVID-19 crisis, medical professionals across the country took steps to limit their family’s exposure to the virus by changing their clothes in a safe, secure location between the inside of their home and their hospital. With the same thought in mind, consider installing a modular building or cleanroom within your facility to allow your employees that same courtesy. This step will assist in keeping any clothes that may be carrying a virus contained within a secure area without introducing them to the warehouse setting.

Any Questions? Let’s Get Started.

If any of these solutions sound like they will be of benefit to your business, let us connect. Click here to speak with one of our Storage Solutions experts who can work with you to find the right solution to fit your operational needs.

Keep your warehouse safe

As National Safety Month comes to an end, we want to take some time to highlight warehouse safety. Although it’s a focus for us every June, keeping your facility protected is a year-round ordeal. Here are just a few ways you can keep your warehouse safe and secure.

Self-Safety Audit

The biggest assets in your facility are your people. Overall, keeping your facility safe for the employees in it is of paramount importance. In order to do that, you have to cover all your bases. With our warehouse safety checklist you can determine areas for improvement to ensure optimal safety for your team.

Another more overlooked aspect of employee safety is ergonomics. Whether in the office or warehouse, there are many ways to ensure that your employees are comfortable. By doing things like putting high volume pick items at mid-level and utilizing some automation, you can assist in decreasing long-term employee health problems.

Safety Products & Solutions

Safety also pertains to keeping your equipment in working shape, which is why it is important to invest in the right tools to fortify your material. Adding safety equipment to your facility will not only protect your investment, but it will also, in turn, keep your employees safe as they will be working around stable material. We offer a wide variety of equipment and services to make your warehouse as safe as possible.

When dealing with workplace safety, there are no cutting corners, it’s the most important part of building up your facility. Whether that means investing in material to fortify your equipment, or for keeping up with workplace ergonomics to keep employees comfortable, workplace safety always comes first. Contact us to talk about ways we can help you wrap up National Safety Month successfully!

Ergonomically Friendly Workplace

For National Safety Month, our goal is to touch upon all aspects of workplace safety. One that goes unnoticed is having an ergonomically friendly work environment.

An ergonomic work environment keeps employees comfortable and less prone to injury in the long run. Here are some of the small changes you can implement in your workplace to make it more ergonomically friendly for your employees.

Encourage Employees to Move Around

Being in one spot for a prolonged amount of time is detrimental to anyone’s health. By encouraging employees to take a short break every couple hours, this will actually make them more productive. By keeping the body active, employees are able to keep their minds active as well.

Finding Natural Posture

Being aware of posture is a small, yet effective way to maintain long-term health for your employees. Sitting up straight primes you for a relaxing walk on breaks, whereas walking after sitting in a slumped position does the exact opposite, and drains you even more. Keeping your back straight and upright will be more comfortable in the long run and make you feel more rested throughout the day.

Screen, Keyboard & Mouse Placement

Keeping your screen at an appropriate level reduces the strain on your neck. If you can anchor your screen in the middle of your field of vision, you do not need to tilt your head as much and strain your neck. Having your keyboard on a level surface, such as a desk, and at a position that keeps your wrists level, will not only improve comfortability but will also reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.

How do you keep your workplace ergonomically friendly? Let us know your tips as well!

General Warehouse Safety Tips

Safety is a critical part of any facility and some consider it one of the most important aspects that a company should focus on. June is National Safety Month, and to recognize it, we created a summary of warehouse safety tips that no facility should be without.

Want to learn more about our safety tips? Click here to download our full warehouse safety checklist!

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Employees are the greatest asset to any facility, in order to protect that asset, it is imperative to abide by safety protocol. Employees should fully understand dress code and, if not, ask their manager to be clear.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be readily available to the worker, depending on the type of work being done. Safety glasses will protect workers from anything in the air that could potentially harm their eyes. Hardhats are another PPE that are typically worn when there is a risk of debris falling from above, or when working at elevated levels. Closed-toed shoes are almost always a must to be worn so that feet are fully protected. Hardhats, safety vests and safety glasses are just a few PPE’s in the workplace that helps to protect an employee from danger.

EQUIPMENT & MATERIAL

Safe material handling keeps a warehouse running smoothly. You can protect your material with the right safety equipment, (end of aisle guards, guardrail, column protectors, etc.) and by establishing material handling best practices.

It is important to ensure that all employees are properly trained on stacking material on high shelves, platforms or in high stacks. Have them keep heavy objects at the bottom and stacked neatly so items do not shift. Not stacking material correctly may heighten the risk of an accident to occur.

FORKLIFTS

Before every shift, make sure that your forklifts are not only operational, but shielded to keep the driver out of harm’s way from falling material. Operators should also be conscious of their own safety as well as others by making sure to always wear a seat belt, testing the warning systems, keeping a safe distance from other operators and honking when making a turn or approaching an opening.

International Roadcheck 2018

In honor of National Safety Month, we are kicking off June by sharing some valuable information on CVSA International Roadcheck! Some people may wonder why exactly Roadcheck is important to us in this industry. What you may not know is that Storage Solutions has our very own equipment delivery division! Getting materials to our customers on time, and in the safest way possible, is a very important part of what we do!

What exactly is International Roadcheck?

International Roadcheck is an annual event sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, or CVSA. This year, the event will take place June 5 through June 7. During the three day event, there will be a significant increase in the number of vehicle inspections taking place throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The emphasis of these inspections will be on a very important topic, hours of service compliance.

In addition to the focus on hours of service, inspectors will also be looking at things such as brake systems, cargo securement, lighting devices, tires and more. For a full list of details, you can view the press release available on the CVSA website. You can also view last year’s results here to get a better sense of what inspectors are looking for.

As always, safety is a top priority for us in this industry! We look forward to bringing you safety tips and information all month long.