Working in a warehouse can bring its own set of safety risks. However, if these risks are identified and managed correctly, they can be kept under control and the working environment can be maintained to a high level of safety.
Here are five common warehouse working risks and some tips on how to prevent them from causing a disaster at work – Bought to you by Fastline Services
Slips and trips
Falling over-represents one of the most common types of accidents in any workplace, be it an office, shop or a warehouse. Employees can trip over boxes, catch a foot in some ripped carpet or uneven tiling or slip on a spill that has not been cleared up. Proper training in how to avoid falling over is essential, as it will enable everyone to become more aware of their surroundings and suggest ways in which trip hazards could be avoided. Work out a system for storing boxes, files, pallets etc. and always keep wired safely tucked away instead of laid out across the floor. Dispose of empty boxes and packaging straight away in a designated area to cut down on rubbish lying around. Add extra light to dark areas, keep steps to a minimum and install barrier protection such as pedestrian barrier systems where relevant.
Working at height
Having a job in a warehouse will inevitably mean some form of working at height, whether that is storing or retrieving goods, carrying out repairs or operating large machinery. Again, formal training is essential to prevent accidents through people using incorrect working practices. Invest in the correct harnesses and safety equipment and ensure employees use them at all times when working at height. Keep shelves stacked neatly and work out a system that sees any items or materials that are needed more regularly stored lower down. Pay attention to how cylindrical objects are stored so that they don’t roll off a tall shelf and injure someone underneath.
Accidents caused by a machine breaking down or malfunctioning can be devastating and can lead to serious disabilities or even loss of life. Make sure that anyone operating machinery is trained in not only how to use it, but how to react to a malfunction, blockage or leak. Think carefully about where your machinery is located in the warehouse and seek specialist safety advice if necessary to make sure it is not placed somewhere that could create a safety concern.
Fires can be catastrophic in a warehouse, not least due to how quickly they can travel and engulf an entire building. Products being stored or manufactured can often be highly flammable and care must be taken to handle and store them according to the relevant industry guidelines. Have clearly marked fire exits and keep these clear and easily accessible at all times. Test fire alarms weekly at least and hold regular fire drills so everyone knows how to react and where to go in an emergency. Remove any electrical power leads from underneath carpets and test all equipment for fire safety regularly, especially any containers or machinery containing flammable liquids or gasses.
Many chemicals are extremely dangerous and can cause horrific injuries if workers are exposed to them in the wrong way. Once again, training in their safe handling is essential, as is following all legal requirements as to their storage, transportation and usage. Ensure that only the minimum number of people come into contact with dangerous chemicals and provide them with top quality safety clothing, goggles, and other equipment. Make it as easy as possible for workers to report any concerns over chemical safety matters or their health to a specialist.