The day to day activities carried out in warehouse and storage environments can carry an increased risk to health and safety. An employer has the ultimate responsibility to ensure health and safety within the work place is properly managed to protect your employees who have the right to a safe working environment. Accidents can leave long lasting damage to the lives of the individuals involved and the business. A preventable accident could result in significant loss of revenue and high costs to the business in terms of money and reputation.
WSL is a full SEMA member as well as being a manufacturer accredited to CE Marking BSEN 1090 so the safety and quality of our warehouse pallet racking systems, mezzanine floors and shelving systems is guaranteed. An exceptionally safe storage system with regular inspections will reduce risks and keep your employees safe however the safety of your warehouse can be influenced by a number of different factors.
Workplace injuries can be serious and often involve
- Falls or slipping
- Moving vehicles
- Objects falling
- Material handling
Identifying hazards and acting to reduce risk will help prevent such incidents. For clear guidance on how to do this along with the health and safety legal obligations of both the employer and employee go to https://www.hse.gov.uk/logistics/warehousing.htm
These are just some of health and safety measures you can put in place to help lower risks:
- Keep and regularly update your company health and safety policy – This is a formal company statement detailing the arrangements put in place to help manage health and safety issues within the workplace and should be easily accessible to all employees. The document should highlight the responsibilities of both the organisation and individual employees.
- Training – Whether permanent or temporary all employees must receive adequate training to ensure their own safety and the safety of others. This can include operating machinery, usage of equipment and lifting heavy loads. Employees should be trained on how to use pallet racking and other storage structures correctly. For quick referral weight load notices and safety notices should be attached to the structures in relevant areas.
- Manage occupational health – Workplace illness can can occur where risk is heightened. An unusual high number in staff absence whose symptoms are similar could indicate a health risk problem. Chemicals, ventilation issues, incorrect handling, and noise pollution are all examples of risk factors. These hazardous factors should be taken seriously and acted on to lower the risk.
- Ensure a good warehouse design and layout – Use dedicated walkways, ensure easy access to emergency exit routes, staircases, lifts and ramps. This will help keep employees, equipment and inventory safe. Protection barriers around the racking structure prevent collision from moving fork lift trucks. Bumps and knocks into the racking frames can cause the structure to weaken creating a risk of collapse.
- Fire safety procedures should be put in place – Make an assessment of high risk areas and put plans in place. Be sure your employees know where the fire assembly line is and practice the procedure periodically. Appointed fire marshals should be on site at all times.
- Create general housekeeping procedures and keep employees informed of these duties – As the employer it is your responsibility to ensure employees have adequate resources to carry out general housekeeping duties. A rota system can help ensure required cleaning tasks are carried out at regular intervals. This can help to ensure surfaces and machinery are wiped down regularly and rubbish is placed in the appropriate bins.
- Prevent trips and slips – Use wet floor signs where appropriate, keep aisles clear, provide adequate footwear, ensure pallets and boxes are kept in the racks and shelves and not left on the floor. Stairways should be kept clear and regularly check the condition of the floor to ensure there are no dents, chips or holes.
- Maintain electrical items – Ensure fixed electrical items are fitted by a certified electrician with all electrical items clearly labelled and sufficiently protected from dust or water.
- Emergency procedures – In case of an emergency there should be employees trained in emergency first aid at work on site at all times. The number of first aiders required on site at any one time depends on the size of the premises, department locations and employee numbers. Many businesses now have a defibrillator on their premises in case of a heart attack which unfortunately can happen at any time.
Since Covid19 reached our shores early 2020 social distancing has dominated the lives of every person in the UK. These new measures are likely to be around for the foreseeable future in every aspect of our lives including the workplace. Many warehouses have or are introducing new measures to help adjust to this very new way of working. As well as protective clothing, shift patterns and staggered breaks warehouses are looking to their existing storage structures to help keep safe distances. Some racking systems already allow employees to work at a safe distance due to their current design and others may only require minor temporary adjustments and reconfiguration to allow operations to continue efficiently and safely