Handling and storing heavy inventory such as construction materials, metal and liquids present unique challenges. Keeping items in good condition requires special attention to placement, and mechanized warehouse equipment produces an additional set of safety issues. These three solutions have proven effective in addressing the special concerns that come with handling heavy loads.
Maximizing Square Footage through Warehouse Design
Quality warehouse design maximizes the use of space while minimizing the risk of injuries, in addition to ensuring compliance with all safety regulations. Planners examine the storage requirements of specific materials, creating a customized strategy for placement and stacking items. Placement specialists take operational needs into consideration, leaving enough room to maneuver the equipment necessary to move items to an alternate location.
An example of particularly tricky storage needs includes businesses that use cylindrical construction materials. Items such as poles, structural steel and bar stock are exceptionally heavy, and they pose a hazard to warehouse workers if poor storage practices permit items to roll. Warehouse designers consider all aspects of the material, then designate a storage area that is least likely to risk employee safety. When necessary, racks may be suggested, and designers offer specific information on stacking and blocking each section. Through careful planning, it is possible to store a larger quantity without compromising the safety of staff members.
Simplifying Storage with Specialized Equipment
Mechanical lifting equipment has transformed the warehousing industry, offering an opportunity to build higher stacks and move larger amounts without significant physical strength. Specialized equipment is an investment that rapidly shows a return, but only when the appropriate equipment is purchased and all equipment is operated in compliance with appropriate safety measures.
Forklifts and duct lifts are two of the most critical mechanical lifts for warehouses dealing with heavy materials. However, the specific model purchased depends on the weight of items being moved, the width of warehouse aisles, and the skills available among warehouse staff. Warehouse designers take these factors into consideration when creating a comprehensive plan.
Safety Solutions for Storage of Heavy Materials
Formal training programs are a necessity when it comes to safe handling of heavy materials in a warehouse setting. Even the most well-planned storage system can pose serious risks to workers, increasing time out of work due to injuries along with costs associated with workers’ compensation.
Choose a training program that covers the specific information relevant to heavy materials in addition to the basics. Modules should include the following topics at a minimum:
- Education on lifting without creating unnecessary strain on the back and shoulders
- Training in the operation of mechanical lifting equipment
- Basic safety regulations and the procedure to report unsafe conditions in the warehouse
- Training in the proper use of non-mechanical equipment, such as platforms, stages, shoulder pads and handles
- Emergency first aid in case of a workplace injury
Warehouse planning requires a specialized set of skills that combines placement of materials with attention to operational concerns. After all, packing large quantities of materials tightly together might solve the problem of space, but new problems are created when it comes to accessing and moving the items safely. Choosing a high-quality warehouse design professional is a must when it comes to handling and storing heavy materials, as these require a delicate balance between minimizing risk while maximizing space.