It is well-know that warehouse accidents are more common than they should be and the most serious accidents relate to forklifts. Warehouse managers are responsible for ensuring healthy and safety in the workers and others in the workplace. Their role is to ensure the health and safety, and management of the physical environment, load shifting equipment, and people to decrease the chance of collision and accidents and often to help the flow of freight via out bound and inbound which is an entire process of traffic management.
With the knowledge that forklifts have a reputation as a dangerous piece of equipment that can cause considerable damage and can injure or kill people, it is naïve for workplaces not to be proactive in ensuring safety. Despite this, forklifts are useful, powered industrial trucks that are needed to lift and move heavy bulky loads easily and effortlessly in warehouses, factories, shipping yards, freight terminal, and other workplaces.
Workplaces should be aware that safety and efficiency work together to increase productivity. In the short-term, focusing on efficiency alone may seem to bring better outcomes with little of the financial cost that’s involved when implementing safety through training resources and equipment. However, when that unforeseen or unsafe work condition results in a serious workplace accident or fatality the cost of the downtime, the related stress, the fines and penalties are over and above the cost of prevention and meeting WHS legislative requirements.
Effective Keys to Safety Management
Warehouse safety management is the key to minimising and preventing accident through warehouse traffic management planning. However, there are some area to consider and actions to take when implementing safety processes.
Key strategies and tips:
- Communicate with the workers regarding work activities and safety issues
- Encourage workers to report any risk or hazards
- Carry out Inspection in the workplace regularly to identify safety problems
- Implement safety measure where safety issues are identified
- Ensure effective supervise and safety training for all workers
The how and the why of effective communication
Effective communication is essential in preventing workplace accidents and injuries. Statistics show that 57% of workers reported not receiving clear instruction and 69% of managers reported being uncomfortable communicating with workers.
Effective and ongoing communication and collaboration in the workplace is not only a requirement of the WHS laws, but is important for workplace performance and culture. When information is communicated clearly and concisely it provides purpose, builds a positive workplace, and avoids confusion and mistakes.
Effective communication involves oral communication, excellent listening skills, and clear written and visual instructions. Workplace communication is important to the growth and success of the business. It allows everyone to share their ideas and feel that they are being valued.
Always encourage your workers to ask questions or voice their opinions helping them feel empowered and heard.
Motivating workers on the importance of hazard reporting
It is paramount that workers report any hazards and near-misses they face on the work. Workers are familiar with the details of the work site and that makes their input crucial to maintaining safety in the workplace. Many workers are reluctant to report the dangers they face because they may fear reprisal from their supervisors.
The first step, is informing workers that by law they are required to report unsafe conditions. If they fail to do so there may be repercussions in the form of prosecution with financial penalties and possible jail time depending on the seriousness of any accident that may have occurred as a result of their failure to report.
Educate the workers on hazard reporting, provide an easy way to report and be responsive by taking action when hazard reports are received. Getting worker involvement and getting their feedback makes them feel empowered and willing to be proactive in managing safety in their work area.
Inspections identify current and impending risk
Investigations determine not only what happened, but also how and why. This information is useful in providing recommend actions that will eliminate or control the hazards and prevent a recurrence of an incident.
Hazards develop in workplaces from time to time, even where safety is well managed. It requires workers to be consistently assessing their work areas for risks.
Periodic reviews, as well as those following an incident or accident, allow risks and hazards to be identified with follow up corrective actions that prevent incidents or a repeat of incidents. Following investigations, it is important to inform workers on the outcomes and actions taken. At times, some training, followed by monitoring and reviewing control measure to ensure that they are working.
Another method to identify safety trends is to periodically analyse incident reports.
A proactive approach with control measures
When hazards have been identified following workplace inspections or accidents it is essential to act quickly in implementing control measures. To get better engagement and decide on the best outcomes it’s important to get workers who are directly affected by the hazard to be part of the team who develop the solutions to mitigate the risk and develop safe work procedures.
With early intervention, the actual information on the hazardous conditions can be captured, treatment applied, and a reoccurrence or possible occurrence of an unsafe condition managed and prevented.
Effective supervision and worker training
The first element, and most essential element in managing safety and getting worker engagement is effective communication. Generally, people want to be heard and understood and acknowledged.
An article from Forbes magazine “The Characteristics of a True Leader”, reads that:
“True leaders listen without being condescending. They are willing to hear what others have to say without rushing to judgment. They are patient and genuine in their desire to understand the thoughts and feelings of the people they lead.”
If you as the supervisor have established your team knowing your obligation is to communicate with them often and sincerely value their importance in the work process you are on your way to being an effective leader.
Training is communicating instruction. And if communication is effective, then the training delivered should be more effective.