5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 3

Even though this is presented as the 3rd step in the series, you should never under estimate the impact of training on your operation as it is a very critical element. Training as with communication works best when it’s delivered consistently, concise and with conviction. This goes for all types of training from forklift certification to safety meetings to emergency evacuation procedures. If you treat training as a joke, that’s how it’ll be perceived and what you’ll get. This is your opportunity to set the tone in your house.

STEP 3 – Training

You know what jobs you’re filling with the temporary workers, now gather all the written procedures, SOP, descriptions and policies that cover those jobs and any other pertinent company policies and prepare your training plan. It is extremely important to have this information on hand and readily available not to mention a great habit to develop, reviewing and/or updating job descriptions, procedures and as well as conducting a hazard analysis at least once a year to keep your workers safe, practices current and regulatory obligations filled. Get your stuff printed and assembled and rehearse giving the training. Decide what kind of handouts, videos, power-points or other media you’ll use in your presentation. Don’t forget to include checklists, PPE that’s required and how to properly wear it, what materials are recycled or tossed, procedures on reporting and handling of spills, injuries, forklift use, sanitation and even include breaks and lunch periods. This is also a great way to get your staff involved in the training by having them demonstrate how to wear PPE or do a LOTO or any thing else you want to show.

Depending on your location it may also be a big help if you had the training material translated into the predominate language of the temporary workers. Some workers may speak english much easier than they can read it and this is information you want to make sure you get across. Remember, even though these are temporary workers they are still human beings and should be treated with the same respect as anyone else. I was the day shift manager at one place where my boss the D.C. manager would send temps home for extremely minor offenses as he patrolled the time clock area like a mad hen protecting her nest. Barking out their infraction as he pulled their time card and told them to go home. I would cringe with each one, “Your a minute late, go home”, “your shirt is not tucked in, go home.” It drove me nuts trying to plan the day while losing staff even before the shift began. Needless to say as he continued his campaign for crimes that were never explained upfront let alone written down anywhere he also sabotaged our relationship with the temp agency. Don’t ever hesitate to run your operation the way you see fit but make sure to be up front with workers and explain the rules clearly including the consequences if the rules are not followed but make sure they’re reasonable and not unattainable. One last comment on respecting all temporary workers. Even if their first language isn’t english that doesn’t mean they are any less intelligent and you never know who’ll surprise you with a great idea to save time and money for the operation.



Make sure to document all training by using a sign-in sheets and make sure all employees attending sign to acknowledge their attendance, attach copies of the training material used for that meeting and keep for your records. Well trained employees do impact your bottom line and can lead to a well executing, sustainable workforce.

Next installment – STEP 4 – Safety

5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 2


Now that you have Staffing under control, (SEE STEP 1) you can focus your attention on the next important step, storage. Seasonal items are always an interesting collection of flavors, (pumpkin, eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint), new and unusual food products, new electronics and premiere of other household goods, all making their annual appearance. The good news is many of these incoming sku are only temporary items for the season and will be moving fast over a short period of time.


Depending on the orientation of your warehouse or facility cross-docking is a great way to temporarily store product without taking up valuable storage space in the racks. Cross-docking is basically taking product coming in and instead of putting it away into storage just keep it on the loading dock for shipping that day or the next. Begin by looking at upcoming shipments a few days out and the quantities needed and then look at the receiving appointments and quantities coming in. If you’re using a WMS you should be able to flag those incoming purchase orders so the product stays on the dock after being received for immediate shipping whether you’re loading your own trucks or preparing for shipping LTL. If you’re in a strictly Manufacturing environment, most orders especially in food manufacturing are made to order. As the order is produced especially those seasonal ones and brought to shipping, place them right on the dock and ship them out. Be sure to set up locations in WMS for holding the product on the dock so everyone is aware the items are for orders shipping. It also doesn’t hurt to have pre-made labels handy to place on the pallets also alerting everyone to what they are and how they’re shipping.

Renting/leasing trailers is another storage alternative however the down side is sometimes things get lost. Don’t lose track of what you have out there and stay on top of it. Give the trailer an assigned location, (usually the trailer number so you can find it) and an accurate inventory of it’s contents. There is nothing worse then having a yard full of trailers and not knowing which one has what you’re looking for. If possible keep only one sku in a trailer and if you store 2 sku keep them on opposite sides of the trailer from each other since you don’t want to have to move product to get to other items behind them. The chance of damages greatly increases the more you move them. If you need to keep things cool, refrigerated trailers are also available for rental but don’t recommend them for extended period of time since fuel usage will add to the cost of operation.



Even if you are a small operation and can’t do either of the above another fallback to help you with storage is to place the extreme fast moving items in large bays closest to the loading dock. If need be double the number of bays used to hold more product for picking and shipping to reduce the number of replenishments needed. If you load full pallets keep them above the bay you chose as a pick location for quick retrieval. If your product is not perishable and you have good weather as well as a secured parking lot you can store product outside and remember as I said before, set up temporary locations in your WMS and don’t lose sight of inventory.

You can also pay someone else to hold and ship your product. A third party logistic (3PL) operation can store and ship orders directly to your customers from their location for cents per case per day or what ever agreement you make. You just need to make sure they have a continuous supply of your product and hope they care about it as much as you do as well as have a very good inventory control system in place.

No matter how many items you need to store and move in your warehouse, never compromise safety no matter how crowded things get. Don’t ever use pedestrian walkways for storage of product as this only forces people out of using a protective area and right into the flow of traffic and a possible accident. Don’t put product in the aisle-ways or block pick areas and storage racks with product. Why slow down your staff and make them squeeze around stacked pallets of product with their lifts or riding forks and it is more likely to lead to increased damages and make moving items off the upper racks very difficult and dangerous. Above all don’t ever block emergency exits, electrical panels and fire extinguishers even for a short period of time. Those are bad habits you never want to get into.

Next installment STEP III – Training


Aunt Ida’s Recipes For Disaster – PICKLED FORKLIFT


Our Chef de Catastrophe, Aunt Ida has really stepped outside the box in creating this new holiday classic for all to enjoy.

TODAY’S FEATURED RECIPE –  PICKLED FORKLIFT –  This treat is not only easy to make but can be made year round and is especially a great accompaniment for any disaster whether used as a side dish or condiment.  The best part of this recipe is the pickling process does not take much time.

Prep time: A minute      Cook time: Blink of an eye     Yield: Severe head trauma, crushed limbs, and death.

Ingredients:  Any forklift can be used in this recipe;  sit down, stand up, picker, electric, propane, or diesel.   

Directions:  After selecting the desired forklift type, you must use it any other way than what it was originally intended to be used for.  Don’t even bother with a safety pre-check and here are some recommended uses.      













Paul Blomfield PR Flicker

Paul Blomfield PR Flicker


Toyota lift of Minnesota

Toyota lift of Minnesota










In reality, forklifts are an integral part of the warehouse and manufacturing plants and like any other piece of equipment if not properly trained to operate or not used properly it can KILL you or someone else.  It’s the workhorse that doesn’t need to be groomed at the end of a ride, but you do need to treat it with great respect and it’ll be sure to take care of you.

Please feel free to read the other articles in this blog or contact us witzshared.com for your workplace safety questions.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Aunt Ida’s Recipes For Disaster – Noxious Spicy Soup


Welcome to the first edition of Aunt Ida’s Recipes for Disaster.  As you may know I was recently cleaning and organizing the garage when a vaguely familiar looking, old wooden box covered in cobwebs and dust caught my attention.  It contained sheets of looseleaf paper and 3×5 index cards that had yellowed with age with faded, barely readable hand writing.  Could it be?  What I had in my hands was astounding since I thought these gems were long lost over 40 years ago!  My parents wanted me out of the city during the summers, so as a kid I spent many of them at Aunt Ida’s small truck farm and soon learned that she was big on prevention, a meticulous organizer and a stickler for detail as she taught me each recipe.  She was ahead of her time as she created little waste by recycling what ever she could back into the farm.  Each recipe is crafted and written so they can be professionally executed by the beginner as well as the expert.

TODAY’S FEATURED RECIPE NOXIOUS SPICY SOUP  –  This dicey, gaseous soup, served cold helps begin each work day as an accident waiting to happen while trying to find what you need to complete a task in the unorganized mess puts you behind schedule or in the E.R.


Prep time: 0 why bother      Cook time:  Various      Yield: Respiratory failure, burns, death, fire and explosion.

Ingredients:  2-3 assorted unlabeled containers – contents unknown, 1-2 unlabeled spray bottles – contents unknown, 1- liquid cleaner, 2- solvents, 2- assorted liquid chemicals, 1-2 flammable liquids, 2- pesticides, assorted powdered cleansers, 1- jar lubricant, 1- fire extinguisher with blocked access and NO SDS (safety data sheets).  Oily rags (optional).

Directions:  In an enclosed area that does NOT have proper ventilation combine ingredients by spilling contents from unlabeled containers and allow to marinate with flammable liquids and other chemicals so they can react with each other producing poisonous vapors.  It is also possible that the proper combination of liquids will create an explosion or fire instead.  If you have time and immediate disaster is not required, allow unknown liquids to marinate in a unsuitable container, eventually the container will leak on it’s own.  At no time should the use of PPE such as safety glasses, rubber gloves or apron be used when handling as this will curb your productivity.  Should you spill any ingredients on yourself Do Not use an eyewash station or shower as this will only dilute solution (most of them are out of operation anyway) and render it useless creating waste.  It is not worth the time to store items in a metal fireproof cabinet since you’ll need them eventually.

If you enjoy a little more spice in your soup follow directions above but make sure you are very close to a source of ignition.  A spark may do but an open flame will ensure a explosion of flavor.

When ever working with flammable liquids, chemicals, cleaners and other cleansers use caution.  Stored in clearly labeled properly rated containers.  Keep work area organized, clear and clean up any spills immediately.  At work store flammables in a metal fireproof cabinet and only use in a well ventilated area.  Always use proper PPE.  At home make sure the cabinet is childproofed.  Anything that is not labeled or identifiable should be properly disposed of immediately. Most cities have centers where you can drop them off.  Never pour down the drain or sewer.  If you have any questions on workplace safety please don’t hesitate to contact me at warehouseflow.com

Companies Behaving Badly – December

Wow!  Where did the year go people?  Time sure does fly when you’re having fun and busy as many of you have been and are now.  Busy making lists of gifts to buy, busy planning menus making sure you have dishes for vegans, gluten free and the traditional meat and potatoes.  Many companies are also still busy making sure they are producing enough product for the store shelfs and online deals.  Food companies are also cranking out products to make sure you have everything you need to bake and cook or just buy it already made.  Yes, they’re in full production mode pushing workers, forcing over time and making sure they’re goals are made to keep consumers happy.  Unfortunately when people are pushed, they get tired and tired people make mistakes, have lapses in judgement and become susceptible to injury.  When temporary employees are pushed into a job without proper training and supervision they make mistakes too but unfortunately don’t always get to learn from theirs since they usually die.  There is no reason for this to happen and that is why I bring you another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

OSHA cites Tyson Foods, proposes $121,720 in fines for workplace safety hazards at Buffalo, NY, production plant – PREVENTABLE Tyson Foods safety inspection was conducted through the OSHA’s Site Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.  This was apparently justified by the number of repeat violations they found in falls, electrocution, burns and lack of LOTO.  Like Tyson used to say, It’s what your family deserves. 

Ore. Meat Company Fined for Safety Violations – PREVENTABLE Springfield Meat Company probably thought they were so smart saving money when they didn’t bother replacing the safety guard on the tenderizing machine for two years.  Now it cost them $7850 in a fine plus medical bills for the employee who received 60 stitches thanks to that money saving idea.  This is when the owner and management should be fined or jailed for purposely putting people in harms way.

Landscaper fined by OSHA in stump-grinding death – PREVENTABLE – Someone at Urban Tree Service thought it would be a great idea to shorten the cord length for the remote control to the stump grinder, thus bringing the operator closer to the machinery while it was in use.  This resulted in the death of Matthew Morasse who was just trying to do his job and make a living.  Any modifications done to any piece of equipment should be handled by the equipment company manufacturer representatives and then damn well make sure your employees are aware of these modifications.  They really like to go home to their families at the end of the day.

OSHA cites Missoula auto shop for 9 violations in worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – This is a really sad story.  Bruce Hall went to work that day like every other.  It was going to be at hot day with low humidity and he probably was thinking about a cold shower that night at home while pouring lacquer from a barrel into a smaller container through a funnel when the fumes exploded.  The shop didn’t have appropriate grounding or bonding for the flammable liquids with a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit and probably always had it that way, until luck ran out.

Wind plant workers air safety concerns – PREVENTABLE – Employees at the TPI Composites plant in Newton, Iowa had to complain about safety hazards to OSHA.  Could it have been motivated by the 10 violations OSHA found in 2012 or the 6 found this year?  It’s obvious that the company is not very good at listening and responding to employee concerns or about workers losing fingers, otherwise the employees wouldn’t have felt the need to go to OSHA and look at obtaining additional workplace safety protection by joining a union.  Companies make it so much harder than it has to be, just listen to your workers!

Ferdo Refrigeration Cited After Follow-up Inspection – PREVENTABLE – Companies complain about too much government intervention yet then go and temp fate by not bothering to correct any of the violations OSHA found in an earlier inspection.  Why you want to be under the microscope for allegedly exposing your workers to fires, explosions, falls, and chemical hazards and then leaving them unable to exit the workplace quickly in an emergency is just beyond me.  Give your employees the tools they need to do their job and they will be successful and make you successful.  It’s better than hoping no one gets hurt, crossing your fingers no one is killed and waiting to be caught by OSHA.

Warehouse safety blitz coming to Ontario – INFO – Warehouse managers operating in our neighbor to the north, Canada don’t say you weren’t warned.  Applause to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for taking a proactive stance in protecting workers.

BREAKING: Wal-Mart faces warehouse horror allegations and federal Labor Board complaint – UPDATE – They sure have had their share of press lately.  Their television ads portray a caring, nurturing company that’s great to work for, yet headline after headline says different.  You can also read another recent article about Walmart and it’s practices in Betraying Public Trust For A Few Dollars More: Walmart.  There is nothing wrong with finding deals and good prices, but a companies ethics are also something important to consider.

Hours Of Service Will Affect Warehouse Operations And Networks Too – INFO – How HOS affects your operation.  Something to be aware of.

OSHA no match for workplace dangers that kill thousands – ARTICLE – This is a great article by Randy Lee Loftis of the Dallas News on OSHA’s challenges.  It is worth taking the time to read.

That brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  We are each as unique as snowflakes as no two humans are the same. We each have our own quirks, likes, mannerisms and ways of thinking which makes us different.  Not better, not worse, just different.  Appreciate the differences and respect life. Become a safety advocate and speak up when you observe unsafe conditions.  You don’t have to put up with it and don’t assume the next guy will take care of it.

Later this month I have a new series on workplace safety debuting, Aunt Ida’s Recipes For Disaster.  Check out the story below and hope you come back to check out the recipes.

So I’ve been busy with a new client implementing a 5S program when… o.k., I was really cleaning and organizing the garage for my longest and dearest client, my wife.   I was put into service when she asked me to practice what I get paid to preach.  My attention became focused on a stack of boxes that contained many different artifacts such as kindergarden child art and tax records of 1996 when I happened upon an old wooden box that was full of recipes.  They were all hand written on sheets of notepaper that had faded and turned yellow with age.  What I found was astounding since I thought Aunt Ida’s recipes for a disaster where long lost.  I can’t wait to share them with all of you and sharing is something I will be doing in the next coming months beginning some time this December.

Each recipe is crafted and written so they can be professionally executed by the beginner as well as the expert.  You don’t want to miss any of these classic recipes for a disaster so make sure to sign up, just click on the email box on the right, to get witzshared via email each time a new episode is available.

Companies Behaving Badly – Thanksgivukkah

By the time the middle of November hits, you know the year is winding down and the festive times are about to begin. The tree has been selected and trucked down to Rockefeller Center in Manhattan and is being prepared for it’s debut. People are beginning to stress over seating arrangements and menus as family gatherings are planned and courses assigned.  We also have an added bonus at this year’s Thanksgiving table as we get to have potato latkes on the side with our turkey and gravy while Santa’s naughty and nice lists get longer and longer.  However, the one list that unfortunately continues to get longer and longer is the list of Companies behaving badly.  So tighten the laces on your ice skates, fill your glass with eggnog and get a seat by the fire,  for this is another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

OSHA Cites Trucking Company for Willful Confined Space ViolationPREVENTABLE – Sherman Brothers Trucking Inc., doing business as Team Transport Inc. in Arkansas apparently doesn’t like to waste time, when it comes to training temporary workers before sending them inside confined spaces as they clean the inside of tanker trailers.  Their total lack of regard for human life has cost them $113,400 in proposed fines.  That is still not enough for loss of a human life and don’t understand why the supervisor or owner that sent him in isn’t on trial.  Remember, there are strict rules for working in a confined space.  Learn them and follow them.

OSHA cites West Hartford Plant for Violations – PREVENTABLE – Har-Conn company was hit with 15 violations after an inspection, that was prompted by employee complaints.  Do you think they complained because they were being exposed to various chemical and mechanical hazards without given proper eye and face protection, no emergency eyewash stations, lack of adequate guarding and hazardous chemicals not labeled OR because six of the 15 were repeat violations from a 2010 inspection?  Training, again was more trouble than it was worth as no one was shown how to use a fire extinguisher.

OSHA cites Malden bakery for worker’s deathPREVENTABLE – It was a beautiful August day when Yogambigai Pasupathipillai went to work at Piantedosi Baking Company Inc.  The 61 year old probably didn’t believe it was also going to be her last day on earth as her apron became caught in a conveyor belt and it slowly strangling her while she struggled to find a emergency stop button for the belt. The problem though was insufficient stop buttons and failure by the company to ensure the emergency stop button was the proper color – RED, not to mention the inadequate guarding that all could have saved Yogaambigai’s life.  For this they were fined $20,790 which probably could have paid for the safety upgrades.

Alabama Pallet Manufacturer Cited, with $76,000 in Fines – PREVENTABLE  – Southeast Florida Products, Inc., operating as Southwest Pallet & Box was hit with a total of 10 violations, seven of them repeat and three serious.  OSHA originally conducted the inspection as part of a program with emphasizes on noise reduction when Bingo!  They found in addition to the lack of a hearing monitoring program and failure to conduct audiometric testing which are some of the repeat violations but employees were also exposed to electrical shock, burn and amputation hazards. Yes, the company was warned before about this, knew it was supposed to be fixed and chose to ignore it.

Video: Reversing lorry crushes plumber in warehouse loading bay – but incredibly escapes with just bruises – PREVENTABLE This video is amazing to watch!  This guy is incredibly lucky and should have been crushed to death.  No matter where and what you’re working on, you want to be able to concentrate on the task at hand so before you work, think LOTO.  What do I need to lock out or block and tag an area so I can do this safely?  Cone off or block a loading bay with pallets so you can’t be hit from behind.  If need be, have someone stand there watching your back like a spotter for confined space work.  Don’t ever assume everyone is watching out to see you there, make sure they do.

Canadian employers hit with record setting occupational health and safety finesNEWS – Our neighbors to the north have gotten on the safety wagon and taken the lead by greatly strengthened the occupational health & safety laws along with handing out much larger monetary fines.  Applaud you Canada.

OSHA Plans To Make Workplace Safety Reports Public – NEWS  This is great news and why not?  Quite a few cities do something like this when they publish the list of “Johns” caught in round ups or stings.  Restaurants use a letter system to display in their windows letting you know how clean they are so why not know about how a company treats it’s worker in the area of safety.  It speaks volumes of their character.

OSHA wants companies to electronically file workplace injuries – NEWS – OSHA took a big step towards our paperless society as they prepare to release plans to electronically file workplace injuries.  Let’s hope it’s not developed by the same people who brought us the CMS Healthcare website.

Safety Eyewear Challenges Traditional Designs – PPE INFO – If you want people to wear something, let them decide what they want.  These safety glasses are a little stylish but as long as they do the job you want and are reasonable priced let the employees get them.  You want them to wear their PPE, don’t be a stick in the mud.


That my friends, brings yet another episode to a close.  Thank you for stopping by and please feel free to use the lessons of these stories for you next safety meeting or tailgate or toolbox meetings.  Keep the discussion on safety going and don’t let anyone ever talk you into taking shortcuts when it comes to safety just to save a few minutes.  It’s quite possible the life you save by doing it correctly could very well be your own.  Don’t keep quiet when you see a safety hazard and don’t assume the next person will report it.  Be an active participant on the company safety committee and convert as many disciples as possible to the practice of safety.  There is only ONE you, protect yourself and take responsibility for safety.