To ensure your workers are not in danger, it is important to undertake a risk assessment procedure in a warehouse. There are many potential hazards in a warehouse and ignoring health and safety procedures can not only lead to accidents and possibly even death, but you are also looking at hefty fines which can be prevented by having the right accessories and equipment for the storage industry.
Working at Heights
Falling from height is the biggest safety issue and the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries. In 2017, there was a total of 43,000 height related workplace accidents reported in the UK. This number is likely to be in reality much higher, as not all incidents will be reported.
A fall led to one company, So To Bed LTD, receiving a fine of £113,000 after one worker was hurt in a fall. The member of staff was in the warehouse, working on a makeshift platform, which was open on one side and attached to a forklift truck. The employee suffered knee and facial injuries, which fortunately were not life-changing, but an investigation by Environmental Health officers found the company did not have adequate health & safety protocols in place including poor risk assessment.
They found unsatisfactory personal protective equipment was offered for workers and no there was no safety system related to the very real risk of an employee falling off the platform.
A health and safety review report which was undertaken in 2006 stated the platform was ‘unacceptable’, and although the company had then bought in a safer system the unsafe platform was still in use. Poole Magistrate’s Court fined the company after deciding they had breached Sections 2(1) and 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act of 1974 and also Regulation 3(1) of the management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999.
Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their staff at all times. Proper practices make sound business sense and an accident like the one described above would not have occurred if the correct measures were in place and the improvised platform was taken out of the warehouse when the inspectors deemed in it dangerous.
As well as not expecting staff to work from dangerous platforms at heights, there are also less obvious scenarios that as a warehouse manager or owner you need to look out for.
All staff should have sufficient training on how to handle loads manually as in a warehouse there are always deliveries coming and going which means trucks have to be unloaded or loaded. Handling heavy items incorrectly can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Keeping manual handling of heavy goods to a minimum is optimal, using machinery or forklifts is a far better option.
In areas where there is traffic, signage is very important. Visitors need to be warned they are entering an area where machinery is used and as a warehouse is possibly just one part of a larger setup, separate pathways need to be in place for vehicles and pedestrians.
Warehouse activities present many health and safety risks. Thus, the warehousing sector reports a large number of fatalities in the UK annually. These statistics could be lowered if safety measures are enforced. Take note of these safety tips to prevent warehouse staff injuries.