The holiday season will be a boon to your business, but it also takes a toll on your facilities and equipment. Once the shopping season simmers down, take some time to inspect your buildings and assets. Issues that either appeared or worsened during your peak shouldn't go unnoticed in the new year.
Start by going through this facility inspection checklist, then get in touch with the facility and maintenance experts at Miner. The technicians can point out problems that might have been overlooked and help you create a plan to improve your facility in 2019.
It's easy to overlook the significance of the doors throughout your facility, but they play a large role in both the energy efficiency and productivity of your operations. Dents and cracks in any door can increase your energy spending, and those that open slowly or with difficulty can impede workers and make it trickier to move inventory from one area to the next.
Concrete flooring can sustain damage over time, especially with heavy equipment driving over it on a daily basis. If there are chunks missing or areas of uneven ground, it can create a tripping hazard or make it more difficult for forklifts to drive over.
Another common issue with flooring is excess moisture. This is particularly relevant during the winter in cold climates, when workers may track in snow and ice. If your floors are damp or wet, it's a slipping hazard and can prevent forklifts from braking properly. Placing mats near exterior doors can mitigate moisture buildup. Additionally, installing high-volume low-speed warehouse fans can promote fast evaporation.
Lighting is a critical safety feature. Dimming or completely burnt-out bulbs negatively impact visibility in your warehouse, making it less safe for workers to move around. Lights on equipment such as forklifts must be fully functional whenever they're in use, which includes headlights as well as directional lights, flashing warning lights and blue safety lights.
Guardrails are built to sustain impact, but that doesn't mean you can neglect these features during inspections. After one or more accidents, guardrails can become less durable, and their placement can become slightly skewed. Even if you don't think a guardrail has been struck by any equipment, inventory or employees, take a look to see whether it's still in good condition and serving its purpose.
Automated equipment may help your operation become more productive, especially during the high-demand days of the holiday season. But automation isn't infallible, and when assets don't work as expected, the workplace becomes less efficient and maybe even more dangerous. Inspect all forms of automation to make sure they're functioning properly:
- Automated storage/automated retrieval systems.
- Interlocking systems at the loading dock door.
- Automated guided vehicles.
Your forklifts carry a heavy burden during your peak season, and it's important that you understand whether they're in good condition when all is said and done. Though your workers conduct inspections before each shift, take the time to do a more in-depth review of each fork truck in your operation. Take a close look at the forks themselves to ensure they're not cracked, bent or warped. Additionally, review the tires to make sure the treads are still strong and there's enough air pressure to safely operate the vehicle. Test all safety features, including the horn, lights and backup alarm.
Finally, look over your loading dock for any damage it may have sustained during the whirlwind of holiday deliveries. The door must open properly, the truck restraints must hold vehicles at the dock still and the dock leveler must deploy without any intervention by workers.
Beyond this, the concrete outside the dock should be in good condition with no chunks missing, and the dock bumpers should still be securely affixed to the building. If you have loading dock fans and lights, these should be fully operational as well.
Check the dock seals and shelters to make sure they're still in good condition and not separating from the walls. Dock shelters have frames that can become bent if a truck backs into them.
Whether your inspection uncovered some improvements you need to make in your facility or you want a professional to look over your systems, the new year is a great time to invest some time and money into your operation. Contact Miner for a safety inspection and start 2019 on the right foot.