Companies that operate a building which includes an office and a warehouse have a different set of challenges than one that’s purely an office. There are more factors to consider with safety. Some of the procedures that work in the office will be inadequate for the warehouse and vice versa. In this article, we make a few recommendations about areas to look at to enhance the protection provided to employees (and other people) who spend time in their building.
Protect Warehouse Staff from Falling Objects
It’s a fact of life that occasionally a box or other stray items may fall off a shelf and onto a person. This is not intentional of course, but accidents do happen. Even when using the best shelving, having protective guard rails in front of each shelf to prevent items slipping off and taking other sensible measures, warehouses are a dynamic work environment. To protect warehouse employees from injuries to their feet, they should wear safety shoes. Right here you can find a selection of safety shoes that meet the current UK EN ISO 20345 safety standards.
When it comes to safety shoes UK based, those from engelbert strauss are the best in class. They’re designed in a range of styles (trainers, casual boot, etc.) with a toe cap. The protection at the front of their footwear uses either plastic, steel or aluminium to protect against as much as 200 Joules of impact force. Their footwear is also fitted with soles that are non-slip. It’s also possible to pick their products based on the level of safety the protective shoe provides, i.e. steel is stronger than a rubberised toe cap.
Warehouse Staff Must Wear Other Protective Gear Too
Protective gear for warehouse staff might also include a hard hat and a mask if the air can get dusty sometimes. For people who partly work outside in the goods receiving areas, then keeping warm is important.
Also, pay attention to floor surfaces. Some floors can get slippery through use even when the surfaces are dry. There are non-slip mats that can help reduce slippage. These have a variety of surfaces depending on what type of enhanced grip is needed.
Create Evacuation Procedures Based on Location
For office workers, evacuating the building even when it’s on an upper floor with the warehouse on the ground floor requires a solid plan. With an office that’s kept tidy with items put away and passageways clear of obstructions, an evacuation just requires staff to know where to go. Running semi-regular evacuation drills with assigned senior managers in charge of directing people out of the building takes care of most of the details.
For warehouses workers, the situation is a little different. It might be the case that all machinery must be turned off before exiting the warehouse. If there are conveyor belts and automatic packing machines, these might need to be turned off even in the case of a power cut because the power could suddenly trip back on later when they’re left unattended, leading to unexpected consequences.
A separate evacuation plan is needed for the warehouse that considers all additional factors involved. With an evacuation alarm system, there needs to be alarm speakers in the deeper recesses of the warehouse. Also, for people wearing protective over-the-ear headphones or earplugs, it’s sensible to have a light-based alarm system that runs on emergency power too.
Safety Procedures with Use of Forklift Trucks and Other Machinery
The more moving parts there are, the more likely something will go wrong. This applies especially for operational equipment like forklift trucks inside warehouses to move pallets of goods, and for other heavy machinery too.
There isn’t just the risk of a person having a box dropped on their foot accidentally – though this is certainly not to be discounted – but there are other concerns too. For instance, an office worker walking out onto the warehouse floor to check on a stock discrepancy might not pay enough attention to forklifts being driven around. This could lead to an unnecessary accident. To avoid this, it’s important that the office staff are trained on how to walk around the warehouse safely.
The Challenges of Mixed-Use Buildings
Working in mixed-use buildings presents some unique difficulties. An office worker who might never expect to set foot in the warehouse is suddenly asked to do so and yet is unfamiliar with the surroundings. Similarly, different procedures are required with the warehouse ones being more complicated and variable depending on the equipment setup there and the different teams present throughout the building. Companies must be prepared for the unexpected.
It’s certainly more difficult to run an office and a warehouse operation in a single building. However, the cost benefits of having the whole operation under one roof demand this setup for many companies. As such, wrestling with the complexities of it while keeping everyone safe is a delicate balancing act.