From the time a person sets foot on your property to the time they leave, their safety is your responsibility.
But safety programs not only protect your employees and visitors; they also protect your bottom line. The National Safety Council estimated that work-related deaths and injuries cost the nation, employers, and individuals $151 billion in 2016. That includes workers’ compensation claims, OSHA fines, lawsuits, equipment damage, and the cost of lost productivity, and hiring and training replacement workers.
The good news is that most accidents are preventable with the proper safety messaging and signage. So it’s essential to think about all of the safety issues a person could encounter from the front gate to the back dock to make sure you have the right products to keep your facility safe.
Front Gate Safety
The front gate provides the first impression for both employees and visitors—including OSHA inspectors. Make that impression a positive one with a branded welcome sign or safety scoreboard. It’s also likely that your factory, construction site, or facility has areas that are restricted to authorized personnel only or require PPE. Make sure you have the corresponding signage to help visitors understand where to go, what to wear, and how to stay out of dangerous areas.
In addition to wayfinding signs, help drivers avoid traffic signs, speed bumps, and bollards. And be sure to keep all entrances and exits, including emergency exits and loading docks, clear with “no parking” signs.
Front Entrance Safety
Though you might not give much thought to your building’s entryway or hallways, there are still several dangers present in these areas that need to be addressed. The most common hazards are slips, trips, and falls. While it’s essential to clean up spills and avoid running extension cords through high-traffic areas, it’s equally important to post the appropriate safety signage when those dangers are present.
An entryway is also an excellent place for customized welcome banners and wayfinding signage, so all guests know how to navigate the building safely. Near entrances to areas that require PPE, make sure to include the appropriate signage, so your employees and guests don’t accidentally enter an area without the right protection. And as with all areas of your facility, make sure emergency exits and equipment are appropriately marked.
Front Office Safety
When you’re managing safety in your warehouse or production floor, it’s easy to overlook the safety of your front office. Though boxes of paper or office supplies may not be as heavy as boxes in your warehouse, employees should still use proper form when lifting. It might be even more tempting to jump on boxes in an office setting, a swivel chair, or a desk to reach items stored out of reach, but even shortfalls can cause injuries and should be avoided.
Much like the entryway and hallways, office environments present plenty of slipping and tripping hazards, so the appropriate safety signage should be used when necessary. If visitors can easily access your front office, consider investing in posters that encourage your workers to lock up valuables and keep their eyes peeled for suspicious behavior. And if your employees are sitting at a desk all day, grab some posters related to office ergonomics as well.
Production Floor Safety
Most occupational injuries occur on the production floor, so this is not the place to skimp on safety signage. While each facility has unique safety issues, there are larger safety issues that apply to most workplaces—safety hazards related to your space and safety hazards associated with your equipment.
Facility-related safety hazards
As employees and visitors navigate your production floor, it’s essential to have signage that directs them through the facility and warns of potential hazards in any given area. If your production floor requires noise or eye protection (or other PPE), be sure to include the appropriate signage. If an area is restricted to specific personnel, mark it appropriately. And if employees or maintenance personnel need to enter confined spaces to service a machine, make sure nearby signage warns them of the dangers of the area—and any precautions they should take before entering.
Equipment-related safety hazards
You should also purchase safety signs, labels, floor markers, and tags that help your employees understand how to safely use the machinery, equipment, and products on your production floor. Be sure to warn about pinch points, properly label chemicals and pipes, and mark equipment serviced with LOTO products.
Though many of the safety issues present in other parts of your facility like slipping, tripping, PPE, and emergency communication are present in your warehouse, the most significant safety concerns revolve around forklifts. In fact, according to OSHA, there are approximately 35,000 serious injuries involving forklifts every year. Make sure your forklift operators don’t drive distracted or skip inspections. They also need to know the appropriate routes they can—and can’t—go. It’s not uncommon for operators to overload forklifts, so make sure you have safety signage that addresses that as well.
Beyond forklift safety, warehouse signage should include ladder safety posters, rack and inventory labels, and signage the promotes using the safe form when lifting heavy objects.
Back Dock Safety
Without the right traffic safety signage and products, your back dock can cause quite a traffic jam and even vehicle accidents. Ensure your signage directs shipping and delivery trucks to the right location and encourages them not to block entrances or emergency exits. To protect those working on the loading dock, all vehicles should be chocked behind the wheels, promoting that safety message.
The edge of the dock can be a dangerous area, causing injuries or even death when workers or heavy machinery, like forklifts, back up over the edge. Ensure you have the appropriate safety signs and signal lights for safe delivery or pick up.
View our other blog posts related to facility safety. This article republished with permission from Accuform.