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Maximising Safety and Efficiency in Industrial Spaces

ByDave Stopher

Dec 18, 2023

Industrial workspaces present unique challenges when it comes to maximising safety and efficiency. Following proper protocols and utilising the appropriate equipment can make these spaces functional, compliant, and safe for employees.

Layout and Workflow

Promoting smooth workflow translates directly into greater efficiency. Analyse how employees and inventory currently move through your facility. Are there any bottlenecks or crossover points? Does the warehouse layout follow logical processes linked to operations? Reconfigure equipment, shelves and workstations as needed to improve flow. Decouple picking and packing area and designate clear one-way travel paths with directional signage and floor markings to prevent collisions between pedestrians, robots, and vehicles.

Install adequate fixed interior lighting supplemented by adjustable task lighting so workers can see clearly without glare or shadows. Eliminate tripping hazards and obstacles intercepting main passageways. Encourage drivers to follow designated traffic patterns with painted lanes, barriers, and traffic control signs.

Access Equipment and Lift Trucks

The optimal equipment improves productivity while empowering safe access and handling. Failure-protected boom lifts position workers and inventory overhead via aerial work platforms with retractable guardrails; lean restraint platforms prevent leaning out into falls. Scissor lifts provide stable elevated access for temporary applications like maintenance, light duty construction and inspection with full guard rails that collapse within the platform base for transit.

Order pickers serve as versatile lifting aids for low-, medium-, and high-level replenishment and inventory retrieval; integrated safety harnesses, access gates and configuration settings prevent overextending reach. Counterbalance lift trucks efficiently transfer heavier palletised goods. Consult an access equipment specialist to identify and trial options tailored to the heights, duties and frequency involved before purchase. Do not forget appropriate walkie stackers, trolleys, cranes, hoists, and tugs to lift, shift, and relocate items at ground level as well.

Tower Platform Systems

Self-contained, modular tower platform systems assemble on-site to create customised access scaffolding when working at height for construction, renovation, or repair projects. Built-in versatility easily reconfigures to match evolving needs over long-term initiatives. Sturdy guard rail enclosures promote sure footing along all sides and levels of the integrated stairs and landings. Overhead protection shields from falling debris. Fully adjustable support legs adapt to uneven terrain, and integrated ladders, material hoists, and tool trays boost functionality. Disassemble for relocation then rebuild as required. Tower platforms minimise safety risks associated with makeshift ladders, scaffolding and lifts for intensive jobs or hard-to-reach areas.

Storage and Shelving

Create clearly designated, logically sited storage zones for improved material management and loss prevention. Label storage rows and racks correlated to indexed floor plans to facilitate finding stock again once stowed. Contain smaller loose parts in labelled bins and lockable cabinets. Standardise transparently packaged goods in consistent quantities by the item group. Install secure cage storage with controlled access to highly valuable, regulated, or hazardous materials.

Evaluate dimensional characteristics and weights of regularly handled inventory to determine appropriate shelving, racking and containers. Pallet racks with wide aisles allow forklift access, eliminating heavy or awkward floor-level handling. Anti collapse mesh fencing prevents avalanche failures. Interlocking plastic storage containers resist damage over hard use, travel, and cleaning better than cardboard. Configure adjustable shelving to match the size profiles of frequently accessed items for organised access. Encourage prompt restocking into assigned locations.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Follow a preventative maintenance schedule to keep structural, mechanical, and electrical equipment running safely and efficiently at peak capacity. Log and address reported damages, leaks, or faults promptly. Retain maintenance records to identify parts needing increased inspection or pending replacement.

Ensure aisles, exits, and traffic zones are free from obstructions and slip/trip/fall hazards with daily scheduled cleanup through professional office cleaning services. Workers contribute by returning unused materials to assigned storage promptly. Coordinate professional hot power washes or deep cleaning during periodic shutdown maintenance windows to restore safe footing and sanitary baseline conditions, especially in industrial kitchens or areas prone to chemical spills and waste buildup.

Ventilation eliminates lingering fumes or particulate accumulation, while climate control promotes reasonable working temperatures needed for employee comfort and concentration as well as proper equipment function and inventory preservation. Install humidity- and corrosion-resistant lighting fixtures and outlets suited to the environment.

Safety Gear and Training

Provide employees using machinery or hazardous materials with appropriate certified personal protective equipment like respirator masks, face shields, gloves, protective eyewear and flame-retardant clothing that fits comfortably without impeding duties. Have automatic external defibrillators easily accessible to authorised personnel in the event of medical emergencies. Mount adequate fire extinguishers near exits while always ensuring unblocked emergency egress access. Implement reliable alarm systems supported by unobscured illuminated signage pointing the way to exits.

Reinforce protocols through safety-focused employee onboarding and periodic refresher training. Empower supervisors to halt dangerous violations immediately for correction. Encourage workers to report legitimate concerns transparently without fear of reprisal so that issues can be addressed straightaway before causing harm. Recognise those contributing proactive ideas or executions to enhance safety.

Conclusion

Getting safety fundamentals and efficiency essentials right makes industrial facilities healthier places to occupy and work. This allows businesses to meet production goals whilst protecting employees over the long run. Keep fine tuning as needs evolve to sustain compliant, functional environments. Work closely with reputable equipment vendors and contractors to identify potential improvements proactively. Ultimately, optimising workspace infrastructure takes an ongoing, cooperative effort from ownership, management, and staff.