When most people think about warehouse optimization, they think about the way that the pallet racks are assembled in order to make the absolute most of the space. While warehouse layout optimization is a huge part of making a warehouse more efficient, it’s not the only way that you can make sure that people are moving about it effectively and safely.
Signage is a big part of any warehouse. And it’s not just about ensuring that everyone knows where each pallet is — it can sometimes be a legal requirement that you don’t want to ignore. Let’s take a look at how signage can be a big part of your warehouse design and how it can also keep your employees safe and happy.
Knowing where everything is in a warehouse is the only way to make sure that you can find exactly what you need at a moment’s notice. And even if you know where a particular pallet is, you still need to relay that information to someone who will actually go out and get it with a forklift.
Pallet identification signs should be large enough for anyone to see from a reasonable distance, because it’s important to remember that not everyone’s eyesight is 20/20. They should be in an easy-to-read font and readable from an angle (because that’s the way that most of them will be viewed). Rows and columns should both be easily readable, because there will always be a new employee who has no idea where even the most commonly used pallet is on their first day.
Some types of signs won’t be on the pallets but are equally helpful in helping employees navigate a warehouse. Right-of-way signs are an important part, as are signs that let forklift operators know which direction the flow goes in order to keep them out of the way of other forklifts.
Of course, there are also basic directional signs to deal with. Everyone needs to know where the bathrooms are, as well which way the in-warehouse modular offices are. Good directional signs can simply help with warehouse efficiency.
There are so many good reasons to keep your employees safe. First of all, it’s simply the right thing to do, and you don’t want to lose a friend due to the lack of workplace signs around the warehouse. But it’s also important for your business, because you don’t want to lose an experienced employee. You also don’t want to have to deal with a lawsuit, and you certainly don’t want OSHA breathing down your neck because you forgot to put up the right safety signage.
Here are some of the most important signs you need to be sure to keep around your warehouse, whether they’re on your pallet racks or not.
- Exit Signs – These are a no-brainer and are certainly a legal requirement. Make sure you have your exit signs properly wired and batteried in order to ensure they can be seen no matter the environment.
- Balers – OSHA is definitely going to require proper signage on your cardboard balers, as well as any other heavy machinery that has the ability to seriously hurt an employee. Always make sure to keep the safety signage on these pieces of equipment clean and easily visible.
- Speed Limits – It can get pretty crazy in warehouses, especially when there’s a shipping deadline or when a major shopping holiday is coming up. Forklifts have the ability to go fast, much faster than they should go in a warehouse. Keeping the safe speed limit posted is a good way to remind employees of how they should drive.
- No Pedestrians – Sometimes there are areas that should simply be off-limits to pedestrians when there are forklifts are around. While guardrails can be a good way to delineate exactly where pedestrians are welcome (and protect them from materials handling systems as well), signs can also remind warehouse employees where they shouldn’t go. These areas will be even more important as warehouses start adopting robots into the workforce.
- Loading Dock and Mezzanine Deck Drop-offs – Nearly every warehouse has some sort of drop-off that has to be avoided. The most common are fall dangers at loading docks, but mezzanine levels and multi-level pick-and-pack racks can also be dangerous places if proper signage isn’t posted. (Of course, properly installed and inspected gate locking mechanisms are another important aspect of this.)
- Industrial Conveyor Systems – Conveyor systems can be an excellent way of making your business more efficient. But whenever you introduce a mechanical system near people’s hands, there will be a danger. Proper signage can be a constant reminder of pinch hazards.
- Business-Specific Reminders – Sometimes you might have to have custom signs made that are specific to your particular business. Perhaps you have quality control station that shouldn’t be touched by anyone but trained personnel. A sign made specifically to address this safety concern and keep untrained people away from it is a must.
Make Your Warehouse As Easy To Navigate As Possible
The longer you’re in a warehouse, the more you get accustomed to where everything is. But it’s always important to remember that employee turnover means that there will often be someone new in the warehouse, someone who might not know where B13 is or even where the bathroom is! Be sure to make it easier on them and keep them safe with proper signage.
When you go with DAK Equipment and Engineering, we’ll make sure that the industrial pallet racks are properly installed — and labeled — in order to make your warehouse as efficient as possible. Contact us today to get the most out of your warehouse.