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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

Reference

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Maya Levine

Passionate Writer & Researcher

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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