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7 Ways To Ensure Workers Stay Safe In Warehouses

7 Ways To Ensure Workers Stay Safe In Warehouses

According to OSHA, there are over 12 fatal injuries a day that occur in warehouses.[1] While that number might not seem significantly large, the significance lies in more than the number to families who lose their loved ones. Fathers will never see their children again, husbands will never again be with their heart-broken wives – loss is loss and is felt deeply and needlessly in a lot of these instances.

The warehouse is no place to goof around and I’m suspect that you (hopefully) already know that. In fact, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) discovered that ~621,000 workers had non-fatal work injuries in the year 2015/2016.[2]

Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure”? That’s as true today as it ever was. Sadly, we seem to live in a world where people would rather focus on an accident after the fact instead of preventing it in the first place (I personally don’t understand the logic behind waiting until it’s too late).

Let’s take a look at seven of the safest ways to put an ounce of prevention in ensuring the safety of warehouse workers:

1. Keep Things Clean

Hands down, the best way to keep workers safe is to keep the warehouse clean. This is a no-brainer, right? Yet, it’s a huge problem in most warehouses.[3] A great way to prevent mishaps like this is to make cleaning mandatory.

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If your warehouse has a metal machine that leaves metal shavings behind after use, make it a rule that machine operators must clean up their own mess. Also, several garbage cans placed throughout work areas with heavy foot traffic are more economical than having a team of broom-pushers.

It’s relatively easier (and saves more time) to clean up spills, accidents, and messes as they happen. Otherwise, once everything is “saved” and piled up to be tackled all at once, the task may seem like a chore and be counter-productive for morale.

An easy way to implement this cleaning agenda is to create documentation and schedule calendar-specific tasks. These can be completed on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis.

Shipping doors, loading bays, and work cells are vital areas to be kept clean and free of “floating” garbage.

2. Label Everything

Be sure to clearly mark areas that are being cleaned. It’s easy to use anti-slip marking tape wherever you can. It also helps to keep aisles decluttered as often as possible.

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Anti-slip marking tape can be picked up at most retail outlets (which, in all probability, used to be a warehouse). Simply grab a dozen rolls or so and write them in easy to see areas with warning messages on them.

3. Use Provided Safety Equipment

For some reason, a lot of people (workers and non-workers) don’t enjoy using safety equipment. Remember feeling “uncool” for wearing a helmet when you were learning how to ride a bike?

This mindset hasn’t changed in a lot of people.

Still, wearing hardhats in the work area saves lives. Period. Make no bones about it, using the safety equipment that’s provided does its job. They keep us safe so we can stay out of the hospital (or worse, an early grave).

Workers who don’t wear the mandatory eye-wear for jobs meet their maker. There are dozens of other reports about injuries in the worksite, warehouse, and other industrial jobs. You can only read so many death reports before getting the main idea: staying alive means being safe.

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4. Re-Organize Pathways

Containers, boxes, and lumber need to all be stacked in their proper place – and with good form. Remember, an unstable foundation will mean the rest of the stacks aren’t technically sound, and will eventually tip over. Products and packages that topple over and crash onto workers are the most common form of warehouse-related accidents, so make sure items are stacked properly.[4]

Another step to take to ensure the protection of warehouse workers is another simple one, but is a huge doozy. The simple things are often the most necessary, and the most vital. It involves any vehicles and machines. If you have machinery that’s mobile, keep it to the loading docks and/or outside, away from the main workers who are on foot. This will greatly reduce workplace injuries.[5]

5. Replace and Upgrade Lighting

LED lights are all the rage these days, as they are drastically cost-effective. Not to mention, they’re tremendously brighter than regular incandescent lightbulbs or CFLs. Even special-grade, industrial-only LED floodlights can be installed throughout the warehouse.

Why are LEDs superior to any other bulb? The main reason is that they emit a whopping 6,000 Kelvin, which means they’re whiter than the day itself.[6]

When it comes to knowing your way around, lights are bar-none the clearest way to ensure people know where they’re going, whether they are halogen or LED lights.

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6. Hold Team Meetings

This is one of those areas that should go without saying, but sadly must be said. Each week, a team meeting must be held. These are golden opportunities to keep everyone fresh on the warehouse changes that took place over the week, such as inventory changes, filing system changes, etc.

Keeping people aware and up-to-date on these changes will keep them safe because they will know to watch out for such changes. It’s like being told which street an expert marksman with an M16 is trudging down, and then not walking down that street.

Team meetings held weekly should be mandatory, if not habitual. Have trouble making it a habit? Starting habits aren’t as difficult as some people think.

7. Know Workers’ Rights

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created guidelines for a reason: to keep people safe. In 1970, they passed a bill into law that effectively said workers have the right to know.

What do they have a right to know? Everything about the job they’re being asked to do. According to OSHA’s guidelines, workers have the right to:

  • Be trained in a language they understand
  • Work ONLY on machines that are proven safe
  • Be given mandatory safety gear (like gloves or harnesses)

These are just a few helpful suggestions you can utilize, today, in your warehouse. Safety is (and should be) the number one priority, in any workplace and office. Certainly, some methods may be more time-consuming and it’s easy to want to cut corners, but why? Doing so plays with peoples’ lives.

Featured photo credit: pashminu via pixabay.com

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Maya Levine

Passionate Writer & Researcher

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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  • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
  • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
  • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
  • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

How to Use Visual Learning for Success

Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

4. Add video streaming to meetings.

What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

More About Learning Styles

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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