This week we are starting a short series highlighting common warehouse mistakes. The series will run for 5 weeks, starting with week 1 – the receiving area. The goods-in department in a warehouse can be very busy or relatively quiet, depending on the nature of the business. All the various warehouse mistakes and hazards are avoidable but can arise if you do not use preventative measures.

Mistake 1: Receiving Area is too Small

The receiving area is a start point at any warehouse, and if errors are made there, they will go though to the later stages as well. One of biggest mistakes here is having a receiving area that’s too small for the job, or that overlaps with shipping area. Make sure there is enough space for all tasks being performed, including quality control activities, staging items and labelling.

Mistake 2: Congestion in Busy Receiving Area

Leading on from the previous point, even if the receiving area is large enough it can still get very messy and unorganised. Having many pallet trucks, materials, workers and boxes all in one place can lead to disorganisation and injuries. Additionally, this can significantly increase the processing time of goods through congestion.

First of here, you need to be using a marking tape and potentially barriers to subdivide large areas into different coloured paths and squares. This informs workers where they should walk, drive trucks or store pallets. This is easy to colour coordinate but requires a small amount of preparation first.

As we have mentioned numerous times before there is no substitute for proper training of forklift drivers. Only experience and good training can ensure safety. This is particularly important in a busy receiving area with numerous hazards to avoid.

Unless you’ve worked in this environment before you may not know how much waste packaging is produced by incoming goods. It’s important to have the waste removed as quickly as possible using either manual removal or a trash conveyor. The easiest way to keep the area clean is to install lots of large bins close to the unpacking area. Bin tippers will come in handy at this point.

Mistake 3: Trucks Unintentionally Moving Away From Docks

Trucks can slowly move away from the dock creating a gap, which is an easy trap for people and goods to fall into. If this happens there is a significant chance of injury and the additional risk of damaged goods.

The simplest solution is to use wheel chocks. They are incredibly cheap and can save lives.  A wheel chock is used by placing it under the truck wheels to stop rolling.

A more reliable and expensive solution is to use vehicle restraints. Some large lorries have jacks installed which can lift the truck slightly off the ground, eliminating any rolling. It is also common for the dock itself to be fitted with a series of jacks for the same purpose.

Other Hazards to be Aware of:

Other hazards which can occur due to warehouse mistakes in the receiving area include trucks, falling goods and heavy dock doors. After a review over the past decade a list of fatalities includes:

  • pinned between:
    • forklifts on loading docks,
    • loading dock and truck or trailer,
    • truck and trailer,
  • struck by:
    • or run over by a truck,
    • falling goods,
    • falling dock plate.

Make sure you are aware of these hazards and take safety precautions.