Many businesses have storage and warehouse facilities as an integral part of their business and from time to time these can become busy places with bursts of intense activity. With a lot of activity happening under one roof, accidents can become more frequent. The dangers of a warehouse are well known. Not only could an employee really hurt themselves but one slip up could do major damage to a company, with a large amount of financial loss.
Certain types of accidents are associated with warehouse operations. One of the most common hazard group is slips, trips and falls. When employees are constantly on the move carrying varying degrees of materials on different levels and floor surfaces, it’s easy to lose your balance and fall.
In a warehouse you also need to consider falling objects. Some items may not be carefully stacked using pallet racking and so aren’t organised effectively and can fall and cause great injury. Warehouse equipment can also pose hazards. Conveyors, forklift trucks and hand trucks can cause injuries if they aren’t checked over and regulated. Hazardous materials can pose a danger when working with flammable or combustible materials.
Health and Safety needs to be implemented by management from the word go. For many warehouse owners productivity is key but ensuring the well being and safety of workers will naturally encourage that. It is better to work in a timely manner than be rushed and lose your workforce due to injury. Here are some ways to prevent accidents in the warehouse:
Slips, Trips and Falls
- Ensure good housekeeping by keeping walkways clear and unobstructed.
- Make sure spillages are cleaned up immediately. However if it is a potentially hazardous substance, vacate the area.
- Ensure any packaging materials are disposed of and does not collect on the floor.
- Make sure all staff wear the appropriate footwear.
- Ensure that the floors are maintained in good condition and that leaking roofs are prepared.
- Assess whether the work would be better managed using machinery rather than employees.
- Arrange suitable training for the lifting of objects to all staff whether they are permanent or agency workers.
- Carry out a manual handling assessment for tasks. If appropriate re-design tasks to avoid the need to manually move loads.
- Provide your employees with information about the weight of a load and it’s heaviest side if it’s centre of gravity isn’t central.
Working At Height
- Avoid the need to work at a height where possible.
- Provide protection to areas where people may fall including loading bays. Don’t use pallets on forklift trucks for accessing work at a height or as platforms. Never climb on racking.
- Inspect equipment used for working at height to make sure it’s safe to use. Make sure everyone working at a height has the appropriate training.
- Restrict the use of plant and equipment to authorised personnel only.
- Drivers visiting should be given information to ensure the safety of others. Think about how to communicate with drivers who don’t speak English. Ensure safety signs and training material is in multiple languages.
- Make sure there is enough separation between pedestrians and vehicles.
- Traffic routes should be designed to reduce risks. i.e from reversing vehicles a one way system can be used.
These are a few starter points in the prevention of accidents in the warehouse. Yet these will go a long way in preventing warehouse accidents.