Paring down your warehouse tools inventory to the core appliances improves safety and productivity but it can be a daunting task. Use these tips to get back to basics and make the work environment more comfortable and functional.
Create an Essential Warehouse Tools List
Review your company's purpose, or your team's main function. These details are likely in your mission statment, business plan, or, in the case of many manufacturing sites, just plain common sense. Determine if every piece of warehouse equipment you have or want best fits your needs. To do that, consider the following:
- Do the items' uses justify their costs? Are the tools important enough to be worthwhile investments?
- How much space is necessary to store your warehouse safety equipment?
- What kind of durability does each tool offer? Are replacement parts still available?
- Are you employees familiar with the tools and how to use them effectively? Is extra training necessary?
- Is it better to have specialized tools or do multipurpose tools make more sense for certain tasks?
Keep Warehouse Tools and Equipment in Top Condition
Once you have the right array of supplies stored in the appropriate locations, make it a habit to continuously check their condition and functionality. According to OSHA, there are almost 35,000 forklift injuries a year and over 80 of those result in forklift fatalities. To minimize accidents and injuries at your site, ensure that everyone using a forklift follows OSHA's stringent regulations about inspecting machines after every shift. Tell your employees to examine the tools or machinery they use, before and after use, so they can immediately report damages or suggest replacements before someone on the next shift gets hurt.
Always Maintain Safety in a Warehouse Setting
A safe work environment involves more than consolidating a list and having easily accessible storage. Always dispose of the trash immediately, especially hazardous materials, and place smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers at every key point. Designate a time (weekly, monthly, or whenever it fits your schedule), to review warehouse safety topics, and retain records of who attended and who was absent. Teach everyone how to correctly stretch or reach for items that may be below or above them, and to consistently maintain decluttered work spaces. Sturdy pallet racking and other shelving is also vital for safety measures, as well as keeping equipment where it belongs, rather than just lying about.
Take a look at this useful video that summarizes key safety tips:
Update Warehouse Tools When Necessary
Not every instrument has the same long-lasting wear, so take note of care and when tools or machinery need replacing. Keep up to date on any cleaning or maintenance methods, such as oiling, and always check appliances for faulty gears, dirty filters, or misaligned belts. Throw out or recycle old and outdated tools, rather than save them for “just in case” moments. If you have "just in case" tools or appliances, chances are they are past their prime and doing nothing more for production than taking up space and collecting dust. Reinforce how to reduce workplace hazards, and be cognizant of leaks, spills, or inclement weather, including extreme temperatures, which can negatively affect exposed appliances and employees.
Proper Equipment Saves Time and Money
Employees get more done when equipment and tools are in top shape and when using the best of their kind for their purposes. Workers don't have to spend time trying to figure out which appliance to use, and without piles of instruments to sift through, there are fewer distractions from the task at hand. When you have the essential warehouse tools for your company and you create a clean and organized system, everything runs smoothly and everyone is more likely to go home safe.