Spotlight on Warehouse Aisle Floor Markers

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Warehouses – especially larger ones – are always a buzz of activity. Powered industrial trucks moving in and around aisles; workers filling shelves with stocks, retrieving these for shipment or taking inventory; maintenance performing emergency maintenance or housekeeping chores are just some examples of daily warehouse activities.

With all this going on, sometimes all at once, ensuring operations run as smoothly – not to mention as safely – as possible can be a bit of a challenge. With this challenge in mind, we at Seton developed a line of markers designed to make warehouse activities more efficient, namely warehouse aisle floor markers.

Aisle identification for more efficient – and safe – task resolution

Most warehouses would have some form of aisle identification system, usually in the form of aisle signs. These types of signs attach to the side of racks either flush or extending outward a bit. While these do a fair enough job of identifying aisles there is a likelihood these can be obscured largely because of how they’re positioned, i.e. on the side of a warehouse rack.

Our new warehouse aisle floor markers feature three factors that make these easier to see than conventional warehouse aisle signs:

•A highly noticeable design – our new aisle floor markers feature a design that “jumps out” at you, letting you know exactly what aisle you’re at.
•A large diameter – at 17” dia., these floor markers are easy to see even from a relatively far distance.
•Floor mounting – being floor mounted, there is a lesser danger these floor signs will be obscured from view.
•Subsurface printing – subsurface printing ensures the marker won’t fade significantly.
•A Lexan topcoat – Lexan is chemically resistant also adding to the markers durability.

Another notable feature of our new warehouse aisle markers is these feature significant anti-slip properties. What this means is, these new floor markers can also help prevent slip and fall accidents.
When properly installed, our warehouse aisle floor markers allow your workers to more efficiently traverse even a really large warehouse. This equates to time saved performing the various tasks at hand.

A Friendly Reminder

Please keep in mind, while our aisle floor markers can enhance both efficiency and safety in your warehouse, nothing beats good old-fashioned training to ensure both. Make sure to train your workers regarding your establishment’s safety protocols, including working around forklifts and other powered industrial trucks and housekeeping principles.

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Tips to Lower Accident Rates in Warehouses

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Working in a warehouse can be a dangerous proposition. The complexity of running the facility in an efficient and speedy manner combined with heavy equipment makes it hard to track everything, and the moment someone loses their focus or concentration, bad things can happen.

Safety officers for warehouses have a difficult job since they have to worry about everything, from unsafe forklift usage, improper product stacking, failure to use proper PPE and lockout/tagout procedures, and even repetitive stress injuries.

With all that, it should come as no surprise that according to OSHA, the fatal injury rate of the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all industries. The fact is, we have the ability to lower the accident rates in our warehouses today.

While we don’t have time to handle all of the issues that one will face in securing a warehouse, we will touch on some of the bigger issues such as forklifts, material storage and ergonomics. Some of these are the biggest causes of accidents, injuries and deaths in any facility.

So let’s check out some of these tips and tricks to lower accident rates in your warehouse:

Forklift Safety:

  • Forklifts should meet the design and construction requirements in the American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks (ANSI B56.1-1969).
  • Nameplates and markings should be in place and maintained in legible condition.
  • Forklifts for hazardous location use should be appropriately marked and approved for such use.
  • Forklifts need to be properly positioned and brakes applied during maintenance checks and repairs
  • Forklift operators should have completed training and an evaluation conducted and certified by persons with the knowledge, training and experience to train operators and evaluate their performance.
  • The training program content should include all truck-related topics, workplace related topics and the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.178 for safe truck operation.
  • Refresher training and evaluation should be conducted whenever an operator has been observed operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner or has been involved in an accident or a near-miss incident.
  • Each operator’s performance should be evaluated at least once every three years.
  • Operators must observe all traffic regulations, including authorized plant speed limits.
  • All loads should be stable, safely arranged and fit within the rated capacity of the truck.
  • Trucks are regularly checked for safety before being placed into service.

Materials Storage

  • All loads must be stacked evenly and straight.
  • Heavier loads should be placed on lower or middle shelves.
  • Aisles and passageways must be maintained and in good repair and all obstructions removed.

 Ergonomics

  • Use powered equipment instead of requiring a manual lift for heavy materials.
  • Reposition the shelf or bin to lower the lifting height required by workers.
  • Ensure overhead lighting is sufficient for workers.
  • Keep floors clean and free of slip and trip hazards.

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5 Steps to An Efficient & Accident-Free Warehouse

Reform Foam Impact ProtectorsRunning a warehouse can be overwhelming. Aside from overseeing the day-to-day operations of the business, a warehouse supervisor must also ensure everyone’s safety and security in the warehouse facility. Warehouses, large or small, can be hazardous places. As warehouse manager, it is also your responsibility to promote and enforce safety practices in your facility.

A safe workplace makes for an efficient one. Not only that, Canadian laws require you, as an employer, to provide a safe environment to all your employees. Here are five important safety aspects of warehouse management that you need to follow to help you achieve an efficient, safe, and accident-free work environment:

  1. Observe cleanliness and orderliness. Maintaining a neat, clean, and organized warehouse at all times will ensure a safer warehouse. Keep your floors free from water, oil, cleaning products, and other spills that may cause slips and injuries. Clear all traffic areas of pallets, cartons, plastic wraps, and other debris that may cause accidents or delay in warehouse operations.
  2. Create a safety program. Provide a well-planned warehouse safety program that fits your warehouse’s needs. Make sure all your employees are educated and knowledgeable about this program before they begin work.
  3. Safety and equipment training is essential.  Safety training courses should be mandatory, along with vehicle and equipment courses, for all workers who will be operating warehouse equipment such as forklifts, electric stackers, mechanical loaders, lifters, and shrink wrappers. Always check if warehouse employees have attended the training or received proper certifications before handling any equipment.
  4. Enforce safety regulations. Make sure all managers, warehouse handlers, and other employees wear the appropriate PPE such as hard hats, steel-toed boots, heavy gloves, and safety goggles before working on the floor.
  5. Mitigate accidents. The movement of forklifts and other heavy equipment around your warehouse can account for a large number of accidents. This includes collision with people, collision with other vehicles, collision with the warehouse structure, and overturning of FLTs. To deal with this, you need to:
  • Plan periodic vehicle, machinery, equipment and loading dock examinations and maintenance to prevent accidents.
  • Ensure all safety features including lights, vehicle reverse sensors, and warning beeps work properly.
  • Report vehicle defects and equipment malfunctions. Make sure to oversee repairs and testing before using the item again.Conformable Foam Impact Protector
  • Equip your warehouse structure with safety equipment such as signs, bollards, and impact protectors to lessen the impact and damage of heavy-equipment collisions. Damage to your columns can potentially endanger your warehouse building. You can save on building repair by installing column protectors and foam impact protectors in key areas.

Following these safety precautions is a good start to ensuring better warehouse safety. You, as warehouse supervisor, are responsible for assuring warehouse processes are consistent with your safety plan and being followed religiously. By acting as the touchstone and safety anchor for your employees, your warehouse staff will be able to develop and carry out action plans from your safety program. In the end, it will help you achieve a safer, efficient, and successful warehouse operation.

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5S Methodology in Warehouse Management

5s Red Tag SignNo one is sure exactly how the 5’s methodology began.  But in the 1970s, Japan’s premiere automotive company, Toyota, was notably the company that set the standard. Just like Sun Tzu’s the Art of War, the principles derived from the 5S methodology can be applied in many ways to achieve efficiency. Warehouse management is just one aspect of your business that could benefit from these principles.

Sort or Seiri – In organizing your workplace and home, the first thing to do is to sort. In home improvement, you separate stuff you need, stuff you can throw out, and stuff that can be donated or sold in a garage sale. In sorting your warehouse inventories and company assets, the same principle applies. Discard all the items that you no longer have any use for to clear valuable space for incoming materials or products in need of storage. Keep only what you need and set priorities through processes like FIFO (First In First Out) or LIFO (Last In First Out).

Tools you need:

  • Red Tags and Red Tag Boards – Systematically remove items in your warehouse with approval of the supervisor to ensure items discarded are reviewed.
  • Equipment Tags – Tag machines and equipment in need of repairs with status tags that indicate machines in need of repairs and those that are OK to use.

Streamline (aka Straighten or Stabilize) or Seiton – Streamlining or organizing the warehouse is probably the most challenging aspect of 5S. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You have to figure out how your warehouse processes flows and how you can eliminate waste in terms of time and resources.

Tools you need:

  • Warehouse Signs – Put up instructions and reminders to alert and guide workers in your warehouse.
  • Floor and Aisle Markers – Clearly marked areas and paths are essential in improving foot traffic. It eliminates confusion and workers will know exactly where they are and where they need to go.
  • Labels and Inventory Tags – Identify the content in each storage space to avoid wasting time looking for specific equipment or tools.

Shine or Seiso – Maintain good housekeeping in your warehouse. Leaks and spills should be taken care of immediately as these are unnecessary hazards that may cause slips and falls. It’s important to maintain cleanliness in the facility to be able to clearly evaluate where efficiency is lacking.

Tools you need:

  • Janitorial Supplies – Use heavy-duty industrial cleaning tools and supplies to save cost in the long run.
  • Spill Kits – Always have a professional spill kit ready. Choose the best spill kit that’s right for your workplace.

Standardize or Seiketsu – Consistency in implementing your new system is the key to improved efficiency. It’s essential to have a work manual that documents the standards implemented. Regular training sessions also help workers deal with not just the regular work but also how to react in situations like breakdown of equipment, chemical spills, and emergencies.

Tools you need:

  • Work Posters or Charts – A simple visual guide that summarizes the work flow. It could be used to locate where the different work areas and equipment are located.
  • Training Manuals and Videos – To set standard practices, new workers have to undergo training. Regular refreshers are also recommended for workers assigned to new tasks.

Sustain or Shitsuke – It’s easy to slip back to old habits without proper monitoring and evaluation. Conduct regular evaluation or even surprise inspections to make sure workers are following the new standards.

Be open to change when a new standard or policy is not working out. 5S, after all, is not about complacency but rather the continuous striving for perfection.

 

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