In the warehouse, on the work site, or even just at home, accidents happen. When forklifts and heavy items are involved though, they turn serious very quickly. Accidents can be prevented or at least minimised, especially when you do any of these tasks below.
Have a screening process
It’s normal for applicants to embellish their work history a little so they can impress an employer. But in a high-risk environment they need certain skills so that accidents don’t happen in the first place.
Are they applying for a forklift driver position? If so, when did they get their license? Can they operate the models you have on the floor? Duties like shifting heavy stock, loading/unloading, and driving are all high risk and you must make sure the applicant is clear about what’s expected of them.
Make a uniform
Another prevention measure is having the staff decked out in the best protection gear. Long pants, hi-vis vests, and hard hats must be worn regularly. No sneakers are allowed. Tell workers they’ll need steel-toe boots instead.
High visibility gear like vests and clothing with silver straps ensure that people moving about can be seen on the floor and on site. This makes it less likely that collisions will happen.
Make hi-vis signs
You see these signs everywhere, on fences and walls, warning about the potential dangers inside.
You can custom order these depending on what’s required on the worksite and in the warehouse. At the least you need warnings about the hazards (heavy machinery, live wires, etc). Follow this up with the minimum safety clothing needed to enter the site, like boots or hats.
No shortcuts allowed
If you’re going to do a job, do it properly no matter the industry you’re in. This is especially true in loading/unloading, deliveries, and important structural work. Workplace injuries happen to floor staff in a rush or who don’t follow proper procedure. Injuries include:
- Muscle injury (like major strains)
- Spinal injuries
‘Traumatic ligament/muscle injury’ made up 43% of injury claims between 2015/16 (ABS & Safe Work Australia).
Inspect and protect
Regular inspections by professionals are worth the hassle and the wait. It means you’re investing in the safety of your workplace and the health of your staff. It’s important to make sure everything is up to code, otherwise you risk repercussions from government inspectors. They have the authority to shut down worksites and hand out massive fines.
Your forklift fleet, trucks, and the stock in your warehouse are worth a lot of money. But they don’t move themselves. Inform the staff about necessary health and safety precautions and invest in training. Have a ‘buddy system’ in place that matches experienced employees with newcomers. It’s important that staff can work individually, but having an experienced hand as a guide is reassuring.
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