Walk the line: keeping people and vehicles safe at work
Keeping pedestrians away from moving vehicles is one of the most important aspects of health and safety in a warehouse or storage facility. Workers engrossed in their tasks do not always see or hear an approaching forklift and could step out into danger as a result. It is crucial, therefore, to proactively manage how people and vehicles move about a busy warehouse.
Any projects looking at safety in the workplace must begin with a full and frank review of the current situation. Is enough being done to segregate people, machinery and vehicles? Are there adequate pedestrian walkway markings in place, and are the routes as effective as they can be to keep everyone safe and not impede the daily routine? Can the situation be improved with new or altered walkways and if so, do the proposed changes adhere to the safety regulations affecting your area of operations? Once these points have been addressed, a new layout can be designed and turned into reality.
Walking the walk
Having separate walkways for pedestrians and vehicles is, therefore, the most effective way to keep all parties safe at work. Ensure they are clearly marked out with clear line markings on the floor. Adding sturdy railings will also help people understand the routes, as well as add vital protection against accidental collisions or vehicles veering off course. Larger facilities could also benefit from installing mezzanines and elevated platforms to segregate workers from vehicles even more effectively. Safety gates also act as physical barriers to prevent unauthorised personnel from entering more dangerous areas where only trained colleagues are permitted to work.
Don’t forget to add clear signage to your pedestrian walkways. This not only includes floor markings but also wall signs, railings and barriers and directional arrows. Consider installing fluorescent strips or LED lighting in darker areas. Add warnings that forklift trucks and material-handling machinery are operating in the area too, and remind people that such vehicles are designed to stop gradually, as sudden braking will cause them to shed their loads or topple over.
Training for success
Once the walkways and warning signs are in place, it’s a good idea to look into holding some safety training sessions for your warehouse teams, both drivers and pedestrians. Even if they have been working with you for a while, or have received similar training in the past, it is always worthwhile to receive a reminder about good safety practice. Also, the new safety arrangements that you have put in place could bring with them the need for additional or updated instruction.