Best practices for operating warehouse equipment

Operating warehouse equipment safely is of utmost importance to ensure the well-being of employees; to prevent accidents and to maintain efficient operations. As warehouse equipment includes a range of tools, material handling equipment, and technologies that are used to facilitate various tasks within the warehouse; our blog focuses on the best practices for operating popular warehouse material handling equipment, such as forklifts, pallet jacks and order pickers.

First it is important to recognise the risks to both employees and overall operations when best practice for the operation of warehouse equipment is not followed. Some of these safety risks include accidents and collisions, worker injuries, load shifting and falling, structural damage, equipment malfunctions, productivity losses and increased maintenance costs – to name just a few.

By implementing best practices and fostering a safety-conscious environment, warehouses can significantly reduce the risks of accidents and create a safer and more productive workplace for all employees. Without further ado, here are our best practice recommendations for operating warehouse equipment that will increase safety.

#1. Proper & Continuous Forklift Training

Our top recommendation is to provide your employees with proper training and continuous refresher forklift training programs. Proper forklift training serves as the cornerstone of safe warehouse operations, equipping operators with the essential skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to operate equipment safely and efficiently. This not only creates a safer workplace but also results in improved productivity and reduced risk for both employees and the business.

By undergoing proper training, operators can ensure a significant reduction in risks and accidents. They gain comprehensive knowledge on how to use the equipment and adhere to safety protocols, fostering both confidence and competence while ensuring compliance. Secondary benefits include enhanced communication, bolstered brand reputation, cost savings, and a notable boost in employee morale.

Recommended Reading |How forklift training increases sustainability with your warehouse employees

#2. Following Manufacturers Guidelines

Always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the safe operation of equipment. By doing so, you not only ensure safety and optimal performance but also prevent damage and reduce risks. Additionally, maintaining compliance with these guidelines will uphold the equipment’s resale value, which can be significant if you decide to dispose of it in the future.

#3. Regular Maintenance

Maintaining warehouse equipment is a proactive measure that guarantees the safety and efficiency of warehouse operations. Beyond accident prevention and injury mitigation, it actively contributes to cultivating a more reliable, productive, and reputable work environment. Properly maintaining essential warehouse equipment like forklifts, pallet jacks, and other material handling equipment not only extends their lifespan but also diminishes the requirements for frequent replacements, ultimately leading to reduced overall operational costs.

#4. Regular Inspections

Routine pre and post-inspections are essential, as they enable early problem detection, preventative maintenance, safety assurance, and compliance with regulations. By consistently conducting these inspections, you ensure that any issues are reported and addressed before operating the warehouse equipment.

#5. Clear Visibility

Clear visibility must always be prioritised, as it guarantees an unobstructed view of the surroundings, encompassing the path of the warehouse equipment, potential obstacles, pedestrians, and other equipment. Upholding clear visibility empowers operators to make informed decisions, evade hazards and prevent accidents. Moreover, it significantly contributes to fostering a safer work environment and enhancing the overall efficiency of warehouse operations.

#6. Speed Control and Maintaining safe distances

Maintaining proper speed control and ensuring safe distances are key components of responsible warehouse operations. These practices offer benefits that extend to everyone involved in warehouse operations, including minimising damage to people, equipment, and structures, as well as ensuring effective inventory safety and management.

#7. Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Operators should always wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as it is a fundamental practice to safeguard them from potential dangers and fosters a secure work environment. Moreover, it serves as a tangible expression of a company’s commitment to employee safety. Essential PPE items like helmets, safety vests, gloves, and steel-toed shoes play a critical role in ensuring safety, protection, and compliance.

Recommended Reading |5 Warehouse safety signs and challenges hindering performance

In conclusion, safety is a top priority in warehouse operations. It’s crucial for employee well-being, safeguarding inventory, and maintaining operational efficiency. At Toyota Material Handling, we prioritise safety in all aspects of warehouse operations.

With our wide range of top-quality warehouse equipment, comprehensive maintenance services, forklift training, and certification, we’re committed to providing you with the tools and knowledge to create a secure and productive workspace.

Trust Toyota Material Handling as your reliable warehouse equipment supplier and partner in ensuring warehouse safety. Contact us today to learn how we can enhance the safety of your operations.