To achieve safe warehouse operations and abiding by OSHA guidelines requires an ongoing warehouse maintenance plan. Regular maintenance is necessary for operating a safe workplace. Developing a maintenance plan must include realistic measurements and expectations that regularly attend to critical elements such as vehicles, systems, and functions within your facility. The plan should also include inspecting, cleaning, and servicing every area of your operation on a regular schedule. By taking a careful management and maintenance approach, you can ensure that broken or inefficient equipment will not severely risk the safety of your personnel and/or your productivity. What should your warehouse maintenance plan cover? 1. Vehicles– OSHA guidelines require daily inspection of the vehicle before it is used. But daily inspection is different from regular maintenance, yet both are critical to keeping your forklifts and warehouse vehicles operating at full capacity. To assist in conducting maintenance reviews, operators require a multi-point inspection sheet covering essential safety features to confirm that the forklift, truck, etc., is in prime condition. Then, from forks to tyres, check each component and address issues immediately. 2. Batteries & Chargers– regular maintenance of batteries & chargers extends the life of your facility equipment. Train your workers on the steps to safely remove and charge forklift batteries, and what issues to look for during a regular inspection. It is best practice to charge most electric forklift batteries when the remaining capacity is below 40%. As a guideline, follow the 8-8-8 Rule: 8 hours of operation, 8 hours of charging, and 8 hours of cooling. 3. Pallet Racking – it is important to conduct thorough pallet rack audits by trained professionals at least annually to meet the requirements of OSHA. They will provide you with a report of the standard and safety of your racking system and highlight any repairs that are required. However, regular inspection and, importantly, immediate attention to racking where vehicle strikes or other damage has occurred is vital to maintaining safety in your storage area. Be alert and look for warped, broken, loose uprights beams. Another area of concern is crooked or poorly stacked pallet loads. Be sure operators confirm the load capacity before loading the racking and ensure aisles are clear of debris that can cause injuries. Learn more about Bowen Storage’s certified, professional rack audit and repair services. 4. Dock & Door Safety – the warehouse dock is one of your facility’s most dangerous areas. It is where moving vehicles and the risk of falling off the dock is high for both individuals and vehicles. Therefore, OSHA requires safety netting, guardrails, and fall protection for areas with at least a 1.2metre drop. By installing visual barriers and protections, you have a safe operation across the area at a cost-effective solution. 5. Aisleways & Pedestrian Areas are dangerous areas when the facility has cluttered thoroughfares and blind spots. It is important to eliminate those problems by installing clearly established pedestrian and vehicle thoroughfares. The team should be continually reminded of keeping these areas clear, which is best achieved with regular inspection of these areas. It will also assist in ensuring smooth operations. The installation of safety gates, posted signage and floor markings, guardrails, and lighting are the best way of improving workplace protection. Be sure workers have easy access to the appropriate PPE at all times. Prevent Danger Before It Strikes Developing and implementing a warehouse safety plan will ensure that your team is safe. Good work practices are to incentivise your team to be part of the solution and keep safety at the forefront of their minds. Demonstrate that you value their safety by having workplace safety meetings and training them to care for machines and equipment integral to performing their jobs. Many teams respond well to safety rewards for meeting established safety goals. The money and time spent keeping your team safe are paid back with productivity and avoiding costly fines and penalties from OSHA inspections.
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