We are pretty sure most of our colleagues and compatriots in the industry feel the same way – and that most likely includes you, the reader. However, you know that the majority of workplace accidents don't result from gross negligence or taking unnecessary risks – they come from complacency, a lack of attention to detail, an insufficient focus on safety processes and potential hazards on the work site.
Today, we're going to talk about maintaining a safe loading yard, since that is an environment that many of our products – especially our mobile and stationary yard ramps – end up after they've departed our warehouse. Here are some tips to make sure everyone makes it home happy, healthy and safe after work – every single day.
- Train your workers. Training is one of the most important things you can do to keep your workers safe. Inform them of the potential hazards of working in a loading yard, including injuries resulting from collisions with forklifts, improperly banded pallets, powered hand truck accidents and more. The better trained your employees are, the more vigilant they will be in staying mindful of safety. Set a good example, and soon your company's culture will reflect this priority.
- Every vehicle needs wheel chocks every time. There are still far too many workplace injuries caused by improperly secured trailers and vehicles. Every vehicle needs to have its own wheel chocks, and they need to be properly fastened whenever stationary. This is an easy step for your workers to accidentally skip, especially if they are in a rush, but failure to do so can have devastating consequences. Also, it's the law!
- Protect your workers from site-specific hazards. Place padding, guards and bright colors around particularly sharp corners to prevent people from banging themselves up as they walk through your site. There are also many ergonomic considerations depending on your loading yard – appropriate conveyor height to reduce worker back strain, storing heavier materials at knee-to-chest-high level and strict policies on how much weight workers can carry can all reduce workplace accidents.
- Know the laws. OSHA – the government regulatory agency in charge of inspecting and enforcing laws about workplace safety – is filled with professionals who study and implement safety programs their entire lives. If you have questions or want assistance in making a safer workplace, call them up! They are a wealth of knowledge and will direct you to publications, media and other assistance you can put to use in your loading yard.
- Conduct regular inspections. As they say in the military, you have to "inspect what you expect." Once you have a comprehensive safety program in place, it's up to you to enforce it. Make sure you conduct regular inspections of the loading yard with a checklist in hand.
Of course, there are many more ways to ensure you've got a safe loading yard, but those five tips are just to get you started.