Warehouse traffic can be chaotic and unsafe if not managed properly. Warehouse traffic includes forklifts, pedestrians, customers, pickup trucks, and large tractor-trailers. Sometimes even golf carts are used in a warehouse. Put all these types of transportation together in one warehouse, and the risk of accidents becomes a crucial issue to manage, especially during heavy traffic times. It is imperative to have a handle on proper and safe traffic to ensure the safety and well-being of your employees, equipment, and products.
Your employees are your front line in the business. They work in the system hour after hour and day in and day out. Empower your employees by asking them to provide feedback on traffic flow, efficiency, and safety in your warehouse. Ensure your employees that there will be no ramifications for any feedback that they give. Develop a no retaliation policy creating an open-door mentality, which will result in a potentially better traffic pattern, increased safety, and will reduce safety risks in your warehouse.
Management should take into consideration their employees’ feedback and act when appropriate. Follow up is essential and helps encourage employees to continue to provide input for a safer and more efficient warehouse as they see their concerns addressed.
Warehouse traffic safety also includes protecting your personnel from high noise levels and hazardous materials as the product is unloaded or loaded. A typical Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violation in a warehouse setting is employees not wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Provide and educate your employees on proper PPE equipment and use. Each job requires different types of PPE relating to the job functions. PPE includes protective eyewear, gloves, dust masks, and ear protection for high noise areas.
Although not technically PPE, all employees and visitors should wear high-visibility clothing and reflective vests.
Make your warehouse pedestrian-friendly
- Use load-shifting equipment when you can.
- Observe the flow of equipment and pedestrian traffic to ensure safety.
- Authorize a “no-go” zone for equipment and personnel based on movements, the stability of loads and braking distances of motorized vehicles.
- Designate areas for equipment and pedestrian use with signage, warning devices, and markings.
Proper Signage and Warning Devices
All the feedback and action of management, when it comes to heavy warehouse traffic, will be for not if there is not adequate signage in the warehouse. All the rules and discussions must be reinforced with policies for not adhering to the standards and with signage within the warehouse to reduce the risk of accidents and to increase a safe, productive, and efficient environment. Put up signs in areas to warn staff of hazards, direct traffic, give instructions and aid in organization. For example:
- Load-shifting equipment storage and charging zones
- Speed limit regulations
- Warning signs
- Exclusion zones
- Pedestrians prohibited
- Powered equipment prohibited
- Pedestrian crossings or safety zones
- Use convex eyeball mirrors in blind corners, zones or other areas
- Install extra lighting in high-risk areas
- Maintain flashing lights and reversing beepers on vehicles
Along with signs, use high visibility and durable floor marking tape to define regions for motorized vehicles and pedestrians. Using floor markings will establish traffic lanes, areas that are more at risk for accidents, restricted areas to either vehicles or personnel, and help direct traffic. Floor markings are critical in identifying areas to keep your warehouse organized and safe. Color-coded floor markings control traffic and keep pedestrians and motorized traffic separate from each other, decreasing the risk for accident and injury. Example areas for using tape include, but are not limited to:
- Designate vehicle parking and recharging areas.
- Indicate warning tracks to areas that have edges with the potential of equipment or workers falling or dropping.
- Mark pedestrian passageways and load-shifting equipment operational zones. Base zones on stopping distances, efficient workflow, and speed limits.
- Guide workers to emergency exits.
- Block off areas to indicate hazardous material locations.
- Mark areas that have bumps, holes, etc. to warn of potential risk.
- Designate customer pickup areas.
Color Code Recommendations
OSHA requires that a warehouse should have permanent aisles and passageways marked consistently and appropriately. Having color-coded markings increases safety and traffic flow in your warehouse.
OSHA’s standard is non-specific as to what colors should be used for markings as long as they are consistent throughout a facility. There is a primary color code reference commonly accepted and compliant with an understanding of OSHA standards. Listed below are the typical colors of best practice markings in your warehouse:
Areas containing hazardous materials and equipment, including defective parts.
Supplies, products, equipment, or materials held for inspection.
Production areas related to equipment, racks, carts, and fixtures
Pedestrian and vehicle lanes or paths of egress
Designates safety stations (e.g., eyewash stations, fire extinguishers)
Areas designated for equipment in need of repair or water sources
Stationary equipment and finished goods
- Hazard stripe
Areas with potential hazards (e.g., electrical box)
- Black and white contrast stripe
“No-go” zones and robotic areas
- Black and yellow contrast stripe
Barricades, Barriers, and Bollards
Define safety zones with barricades, barriers, and bollards to increase traffic flow efficiency and ensure the protection of assets while providing a safe distance between workers and equipment.
- Prevent personnel access by placing barriers around equipment operating areas.
- Install gates to ensure workers and customers stop and look before crossing a path.
- Create elevated crossings for personnel to cross safely.
- Use barriers and bollards at entry and exit points of your facility, preventing personnel from walking into oncoming vehicles.
- Use guard rails in load shifting equipment areas.
- Use safety rails and bollards to separate vehicle parking and recharging areas.
Call Parts Brite Today
Managing heavy warehouse traffic provides for a productive and safe environment for your company. In today’s crisis of a global coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to have a warehouse that is safe and has an efficient and dynamic traffic flow to allow the delivery of products to a world in need.
Parts Brite has a broad selection of aftermarket loading dock parts to fit your needs. We ship across the United States from warehouses in California and Wisconsin. Call us today at 1-855-PARTSBRITE (1-855-727-8727) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.