Category: warehouse hazards

Tips on How to Effectively Plan a Warehouse Layout Design

Principles of an Efficient Warehouse Layout

Before you start designing your warehouse, you should understand what you’re trying to achieve with your warehouse layout design.

Here are 3 major principles to keep in mind when planning your warehouse:

Space

Consider how to maximise the space you can afford, taking into consideration storage, stock, offices, working areas, empty pallet storage, battery charging, etc.

With a wide variety of vertical racks and freestanding equipment, you should be able to design your warehouse in the way you need it initially, while being flexible enough to change it in the future if desired.

Flow

Warehouse flow can be summarised as the uninterrupted movement of materials, people, and traffic within your building.

Your first goal should be to cut down on any areas of high traffic or potential for cross-flow crashes.

So, each activity that an employee performs must be located as close as possible to the activity that precedes it and proceeds from it.

That also means materials used to perform those activities should be situated as close as possible to each workstation.

Your second goal should be to eliminate as much movement and disruption as possible.

Accessibility

Every product and all products on pallets should be accessible by everyone, usually without the need to move one product to get to another.

That means structuring your pallet racks in rows that are wide enough to accommodate pallet jacks and trucks, and stacking and stocking items strategically for minimal interference with one another.

Millenium SI Solutions for Common Warehouse Problems

Use Your Vertical Space

Look up and make sure you’re using all the vertical space available. Investigate storage media to take advantage of your clear span height. How much cubic feet of vertical space is not being used? Be sure to know how your design might impact your sprinkler design and fire code.

Analyze Your Department Space

Identify functions that do not require high ceilings in areas where lower stacking heights are dictated by the clear height. We often see unused overhead space where large departments like packing and shipping are performed.

Consolidate Locations

If you have multiple locations for storing the same item, consider combining them to create better warehouse space utilisation. This can be done during the putaway process and as a standalone function.

Drop Shipping As An Option

If you store and ship large items, consider utilising some form of drop shipping to reduce your in-house inventory and costs.

Use Off-Site Location for Overstock

If you store a large quantity of excess inventory for a few items, consider some type of offsite storage for the excess, thus freeing up space for supporting the fulfillment operation.

Mezzanine Installation

If your building layout permits, consider the use of a mezzanine to house functions that do not require high-bay storage. These can be expensive and are fairly permanent, but will maximise warehouse space utilisation.

5 Critical Pallet Rack Safety Hazards

Physical damage to the pallet rack

Often this damage occurs from lift truck collisions. Sufficient clearance space and clear aisles are both great ways to prevent this kind of damage. Always encourage employees to promptly report all minor impacts or observable damage.

Misaligned Racking Safety Hazard

This can cause collapse or failure of your pallet racking system. During inspection, use the manufacturer’s instructions to check that racks are properly aligned, plum, and level.

Loose Floor Fittings

OSHA is clear that rack columns are bottom-anchored to the floor with column base plates secured with anchor bolts.

Suitability of forklift truck

Your material handling equipment and pallet jacks should be sized to meet your needs.

Weight of stored goods versus capacity of racking system

To prevent dangerously overloaded racks, ANSI/RMI MH16.1 suggests posting the maximum permissible unit load, average unit load, and maximum total load per bay.

In the end, whether your racks are damaged, overloaded, improperly anchored or misaligned, they’re a serious safety hazard that can result in serious injury. OSHA recommends warehouse managers develop a thorough maintenance and inspection program. Be liberal with safety audits that include everything from pallet rack signage all the way up your material handling equipment.

Common warehouse hazards and how to avoid them

Safety tips for overcoming common warehouse hazards.

The average warehouse can be littered with potential hazards, including heavy loads, dangerous equipment and machinery.

Use the tips in this blog to help you to identify and minimise hazards to create a safer work environment.

Falls, slips and trips

Failure to keep a warehouse organised, tidy and clean can lead to dangerous slips, trips and falls.

  • Proper storage and organisation of products, machinery and equipment should always be adhered to.
  • Debris should be cleared up immediately and never left on the ground.
  • Any spills should be cleaned up immediately.
  • Aisles and passageways should always be kept unobstructed.

Falling objects

Objects falling from racking or machinery can cause significant damage and injury.

  • Items should be stacked carefully and evenly with maximum loads always being adhered to.
  • Heavier loads should be stacked lower down, with lighter loads stacked on higher shelves.
  • Racking and shelves should be inspected regularly to ensure they are in good condition.

Strain injuries

Warehouse employees are at risk of suffering injury if they are frequently lifting and carrying heavy or bulky items or performing repetitive actions.

  • Employees should all receive adequate training in how to correctly lift and carry heavy items to avoid injury.
  • Employees should be provided with machinery and equipment to relieve the strain of repetitive or strenuous tasks.

Forklift injuries

Employees tasked with operating or working with forklifts are at risk of being pinned by a forklift or hit by falling items if they do not adhere to proper health and safety procedures.

  • Warning signs should be clearly displayed to warn people of potential danger zones.
  • Only employees that have completed the relevant training should access and operate forklifts.
  • Forklift equipment should be regularly inspected for signs of damage.

Hazardous materials

If your warehouse uses or stores hazardous chemicals, strict health and safety procedures should be adhered to to reduce employee exposure and prevent accidents occurring.

  • Only employees who have complete appropriate chemical handling training should work with hazardous materials.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should always be worn when handling hazardous substances.

Arrange a warehouse safety inspection from our team of qualified personnel by giving us a call on 01942 603 344.