Conducting routine preventative maintenance is crucial for avoiding damage to your warehouse equipment, minimizing the risk of employee injury, and experiencing warehouse optimization. However, you can’t launch an effective warehouse maintenance plan if you aren’t sure what you should be looking for in the first place.
That’s why creating a comprehensive warehouse maintenance checklist can be an incredibly useful and valuable tool. It helps you ensure routine safety and functionality checks are being conducted on-time and as efficiently as possible. To help get you started, here are three key things you should be including in your warehouse maintenance plan:
1. Battery and Charger Inspection
Poor battery maintenance can drastically limit your productivity—after all, batteries are the power behind the machinery you need to operate your warehouse. If you’re working with faulty batteries or chargers, you’ll experience extra downtime (which is bad for your bottom line). This is why your warehouse maintenance plan should include regularly checking the condition of your batteries to make sure they are clean, watered and free of corrosion or build-up.
Your batteries should be clearly labeled by weight and what kind of machinery they are used for, and a comprehensive fleet list of batteries should be kept by age. This way, you can determine a planned replacement schedule so it doesn’t come as a surprise when a battery needs to be replaced and valuable forklifts are forced to sit idle.
It’s not just your batteries that need to be well-maintained, but your chargers as well. Check that they are clean and mounted on their stands instead of on the floor, which can be a tripping hazard to your employees. You should also have a planned maintenance program in place to identify any repairs needed to your battery charging equipment. This should be done at least once a year, and we recommend having a log to keep track of when this maintenance is due. Here is a helpful tip: track each battery’s total number of charging cycles to help optimize this planned replacement scheduling.
To be in compliance with OSHA regulations, ensure that your battery care placards are properly in place, a spill kit is on hand with clearly-printed instructions, and proper battery room safety signage is visible. Additionally, you should be sure all hydrogen gas detectors are functioning and that ventilation systems throughout the warehouse are operating the way they should be. Each time you conduct routine warehouse maintenance, you should also double-check that all battery and charger handling safety and training materials are up-to-date and accessible to the whole team.
2. Storage and Handling Inspection
Racking systems are both a staple in most industrial warehouses and a powerful tool for warehouse optimization. When properly-maintained, industrial racks offer organized storage and improve worker efficiency by making inventory easy to locate. However, a damaged warehouse storage system can lead to serious injuries for workers — they can be hit by falling debris or caught underneath a racking system that collapses. Therefore, you should conduct a planned maintenance inspection of your warehouse storage areas at least once per quarter.
This should include a visual inspection to determine if there are any bent, broken, or damaged frame legs, beams, pallets, or loads. Additionally, make sure no pallets or loads are placed unevenly or improperly on beams. If racks are overloaded or weight is not evenly distributed on them, it can cause your pallet racks to collapse. Determine if there is ample room in your rack systems for employees to safely move through aisle entries and exits with no obstacles or obstructions on the floor. This can cause a tripping hazard when your warehouse workers are trying to load or unload inventory onto the pallet racks.
To meet OSHA regulations for improved pallet rack safety, be sure all rack columns are anchored to the floor, load ratings and safety decals are clearly present on all industrial racks, and you are not using damaged pallet racks. Additionally, be sure any pallet rack safety equipment you have installed, such as guardrails or rack netting, is still functioning as needed to help prevent worker injuries and increase productivity.
3. Dock and Door Inspection
With employees and trucks constantly moving inventory in and out of your loading dock area, it is easily one of the busiest sections of your warehouse. Therefore, conducting routine warehouse maintenance on your dock area to ensure it is operating at maximum safety and efficiency should be a top priority for your business.
First, inspect your entire dock area to make sure it is operationally efficient for both loading and unloading. Are they any “hang ups” such as springs, rollers, or hinges that would get in the way of trucks or employees working in the dock area? Visually inspect all moving parts including hinges, lips, toe guards, and springs to see if any parts are missing or damaged from the dock doors and hydraulic activated levers.
There are also numerous pieces of additional safety equipment that can be installed in your dock area to help meet OSHA guidelines, but if you aren’t regularly ensuring that they’re running efficiently, they won’t be as helpful in reducing the risk of accidents or injuries. Therefore, it’s important that you check the condition of any dock door seals, trailer restraints, barrier lips, and levelers on a consistent basis. With so many people coming in and out of the dock area, it is especially important to be sure that any necessary safety signage is clearly posted, especially pedestrian signage. Walkways should also be clearly marked with trailer lights, and safety warning lights should be regularly tested so you can replace dimming bulbs before they go out.
These tips are just a starting point for optimized warehouse safety. In order to have true peace of mind that your warehouse is in the best condition possible, it may be necessary to turn to the professionals.
The experts at Southern States Enterprises offer a variety of maintenance and repair services for warehouse optimization, enabling you to meet your highest operating priorities for safety, efficiency, and OSHA compliance. To see what we can do for you, reach out to one of our trusted experts today.