Warehouses are a central hub of activity in the Australian business landscape. However, they can also pose one of the most dangerous occupational hazards to workers.
Large numbers of warehouse staff often undertake many different jobs and operate a variety of plant and equipment at any one time.
All of those people want to get home safely to their families at the end of the day. It is management's responsibility to ensure this happens. As such, protecting the welfare of your personnel should be one of your highest priorities.
Due to the often frantic nature of warehouse operation, occupational health and safety is a crucial consideration. Safety compliance audits must legally be undertaken over a two-year audit cycle to ensure your practices are at peak effectiveness.
But there are many other reasons you should conduct your audits – aside from just the legislative ones. Here are a few to consider:
Why are audits so important?
Audits are essential for a range of reasons, some management-based, others legal and ethical. While you may be maintaining all of the legal requirements, there may still be areas for improvement to ensure your occupational health and safety practices are of the highest standard.
Audits ensure that you and your workers are operating in the safest workplace possible. An audit will highlight any shortcomings within your warehouse safety management, help you create a plan to minimise any risks and highlight areas for growth.
Warehouse audits are an effective way to ensure that all of your employees are at low risk of injury or accident. Ethically, every worker has the right to feel safe within their working environment, and audits can help to achieve this.
In short, audits:
- Test the effectiveness of current warehouse safety management systems
- Help to identify weaknesses within your existing safety systems
- Help to identify strengths within your current safety systems
- Help to identify potential risks within your workplace – and as such develop tools/ management systems to minimise these risks
- Ensure compliance with Australian Standards
- Prevent injury and accident within your warehouse
What should my audit look at?
Safety compliance audits look at a variety of safety aspects within warehouses. Given the array of work that warehouses undertake, compliance audits need to assess a variety of areas.
These can include inspections regarding forklift safety, warehouse pedestrian safety. Other areas for attention include maintaining the integrity of temporary structures or mezzanine floors. Audits will also look at the effectiveness of your communication systems. This ensures all personnel are aware of the correct way in which to undertake their tasks and feel safe in doing so.
After the audit
After your audit, you should continue to revisit the areas tested to ensure that any changes you've implemented are upheld. This will also help with recurrent reviews of the effects new measurements have on your workplace.
It's so vital to complete your safety compliance audits thoroughly and regularly, as they can ensure the safety of your workers, minimise any risk of damage within the warehouse, boost your productivity and save you money in the long term.