Warehouse cleanliness is a key component of an effective warehouse. A clean warehouse can operate more efficiently. It can move more product. It has fewer safety issues and accidents. And it will tend to have fewer problems with theft and general employee malaise.
A dirty and disorganized warehouse will have more accidents, will be less efficient and its employees will adopt an attitude that caring isn’t important.
More than that, OSHA requires our warehouses be kept neat and clean with clear aisles (191.141(a)).
Maintaining a clean floor, shelving, and equipment will keep your warehouse safe and efficient. Dirt can cause machines and equipment to malfunction which is a significant drain on time and money. Debris such as broken pallets, loose plastic wrap, and oil spills cause slip and trip hazards. Forklift operators may try to avoid these obstacles and end up driving where they shouldn’t or they run over these obstacles and cause damage to the forklift and surrounding structures or product.
You should focus on keeping these main areas in the warehouse clean:
- Sweep away dust and dirt
- Dispose of trash like torn shrink wrap and wood scraps from broken pallets
- Immediately clean up oil, water and other liquid spills
- Make sure all pallets and product are stored properly
- Remove any fallen product
- Dispose of debris like barcode labels, shrink wrap, and broken pallets
- Organize and sort regularly
3. Dock Area
- Remove empty pallets from the dock
- Sweep away leaves and other debris that blow onto the dock
- Clean up oil spills
- Don’t use the dock as a storage area
- Keep shovel and salt ready during winter
Here is how you can implement a plan to keep these areas clean:
1. Employee Responsibility
- Make it the responsibility of the employees who are working in the warehouse to keep it clean.
- Each employee is assigned a zone or their work area to keep clean
- Inspect employees’ assigned areas to make sure they are kept clean
- Use a rating sheet for the floor, shelves, organization, and maintenance of cleaning tools and supplies.
2. Cleaning Tools
- Brooms and dust bins
- Mops and buckets
- Oil and hydraulic fluid clean-up kits
- Trash bins
- Trash bags
- Instruction booklets
- Walk-behind or rider sweeper/scrubber
3. Schedules and Goals
- Empty garbage bins on a regular schedule
- Assign a time during the week when employees can thoroughly clean their assigned area
- Use rating sheets to track progress
- Reward employees for keeping areas clean
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