23 May 2019
A productive warehouse, especially one carrying bulky or large items, runs on how efficiently it handles traffic. This may be foot traffic, but also vehicle traffic; trucks, forklifts, scissor lifts, etc. If you are updating your warehouse traffic management system or implementing one for the first time, it’s important to get the balance between safety and efficiency right. Here are Backsafe Australia’s three key features that should be in your warehouse traffic management system.
Clear and demarcated vehicle routes are essential for any warehouse management system. Forklifts for example will see them start and stop quickly, pass, reverse, and make other fast manoeuvres that may endanger pedestrians. A good traffic flow system will have one-way lanes to minimise confusion during peak times. Receiving and despatch should have their own obvious entry points, separate to larger vehicles. These lanes should also have good drainage; bitumen or concrete is best for vehicle routes.
Vehicle routes must be maintained and clear of any hazards. Slippery oils, liquids, potholes, damage, and other imperfections may affect stopping distances, maximum speeds, and the maintenance of your vehicles.
The width of your lanes also must be optimised correctly. A decent rule is having a buffer slightly bigger than the load of your largest vehicle. This drastically reduces the risk of accidents occurring.
Clear and legible signage should be present inside and outside of your warehouse. Training your staff in proper vehicle routes and procedures should be a given. Visitors on the other hand may not know the “house rules” and should know the correct speeds and procedures at a glance. Signage may include speed limits, one-way signs, hazard reminders, parking zones, exclusion zones, ramps and gradients, and convex mirrors to help workers and drivers see around corners.
The modern workplace can’t be too safe – so protecting pedestrians and drivers alike is of top importance. Installing wheel stoppers or heavy duty speed humps around your vehicle routes cuts down the temptation to careen around corners to save a few seconds here and there. Bollards or columns can be useful protecting important areas of your warehouse, and can show visitors correct routes to walk down, avoiding vehicles. Hi-vis safety barriers can create a physical separation between vehicle routes and pedestrian walkways and are excellent for protecting people according to OH&S standards.
Final Word: Training Goes a Long Way
With any changes to a workplace, training is crucial to success. All employees should be briefed and re-briefed on your new traffic management plan. Supervisors should have adequate training on the plan to show visitors through the warehouse with minimal interruption. Even if you have implemented your plan, it pays to review the plan every quarter or half-year to identify new risks and how to mitigate them. You may also find the industry has new technology your business can use. It all helps keep everyone safe.
To find out how to implement your own traffic management plan for your warehouse with safety equipment designed for warehouses, contact us Backsafe Australia on 1300 305 314 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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