The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provides extensive guidance to U.S. industries, and warehouses are no exception. In its Worker Safety Series guide for warehousing, OSHA noted that the fatal injury rate for the warehouse industry is higher than the national average. Some of the highest incident rates occur from unsafe forklift practices, improper inventory stacking, and failure to use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). In many cases, part of the root cause may be associated with improper documentation, training, or safety markings. Having the right warehouse safety signage supports a safer and more productive work environment.
Hazards and safety incidents in the workplace are usually the result of miscommunication or a failure to follow proper safety procedures. Some of the most common warehouse safety citations noted by OSHA are:
- Improper Use of Ladders
- Blocked Electrical Panels
- Trip and Fall Hazards
- Material Storage Issues
- Emergency Exit Problems
- Inadequate Sanitation
- Lack of PPE Access
The majority of these hazards can be reduced or prevented by adding proper safety signage to the areas with safety hazards along with additional training. When selecting signs and labels for your warehouse, there are a number of important considerations to weigh before making a purchase. This includes having a deep understanding of your work processes and safety protocols for each facility. In this post, we’ll explore five of the most important reasons why choosing the right warehouse safety signage can improve your operation.
1. Clear Visibility
Even with well-designed safety signs, they won’t add much value to your operation if they’re not visible to employees, contractors, and guests. The primary use of safety signage is to clearly communicate hazards and important safety information. When purchasing warehouse safety signs, consider the expected viewing distances and angles based on the planned sign locations. You can also choose designs with particular colors to highlight various hazards or draw extra attention to the area.
Clearly communicating procedural information is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as each location is likely to have different procedures in place to keep everyone safe. Purchasing dedicated social distancing safety signs can help communicate essential safety guidelines and information to keep these reminders visible while also maintaining an organized environment.
2. Easy Identification
Safety signage plays an important role in day-to-day operations but is especially vital in the event of a safety incident or need for emergency maintenance. Selecting proper signs and labels that identify important utilities, PPE, and facility areas can mean the difference between a routine response and a catastrophe.
Warehouse managers are constantly streamlining work processes in the facility, such as order processing, fulfillment, and packaging. You should pay the same attention to safety procedures and work processes that must be carried out on the warehouse floor to maintain a safe environment. Warehouse safety signs should always be updated and improved to incorporate the latest requirements and best practices.
3. Organized Movement
Many of the warehouse hazards that can cause injury or death result from moving equipment or people navigating throughout the building. One of the major benefits that safety signage provides is reducing any potential for confusion. Clearly marked forklift travel lanes and walking paths can help keep workers, guests, and equipment in the safest areas. Safety signs can also be used to provide clear traffic cues for busy areas to avoid congestion and delays. The selection of proper safety signage should be an important topic during the setup phase for any building and the creation of a warehouse organization chart.
4. Improved Workflows
Safety signs complement other workplace communication tools to keep everyone informed and aware of local and industry best practices. Clear communication reduces errors and can most certainly improve your performance metrics. With so many active components in a warehouse, such as forklifts, containers, order picking carts, conveyors, and more, there are many work processes that must be tracked and managed. By optimizing warehouse workflows and incorporating visible signs and labels to designate areas, you can maximize the amount of usable space in your facility and make the most out of your limited resources.
One of the biggest challenges involved in selecting warehouse signs and labels is ensuring that the chosen materials are fully compatible with the work environment. This is especially true for signs that may be used outdoors, as they’ll be exposed to outdoor conditions like rain, wind, and UV exposure. Choosing proper sign materials will help ensure that your signs will remain readable for their expected lifetime. It’s also important to consider whether you require any moveable safety signs that can be relocated. For moveable safety signs, be sure to select an appropriate attachment method, such as magnetic attachment options for easy relocation or holes for mechanical attachment for signs that won’t be moved as frequently.
Choosing warehouse safety signs for your facility should involve careful consideration of your applications and working environments. Camcode offers a large selection of customizable signs, labels, and tags available, making it easy to find the right warehouse signage to improve safety, streamline workflows, and improve efficiency. Planning for the unexpected is an essential safety practice in all respects, and proper signage can help prepare your team and anyone visiting your warehouse.