Warehouse Health and Safety Information – Part Two

Warehouse Health and Safety Information – Part Two

16th April 2019

We recently reported on the rise in warehousing here in the UK which is partly the result of, the increase in online shopping which has become ever more popular as more people adopt this convenient method of buying goods and services, and partly as a result of the approach of Brexit.    This represents some great news for the construction industry as there are currently around £3 billion worth of contracts for the provision of more industrial and commercial warehouses needed by manufacturers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and e-commerce websites.

As we pointed out last week, warehouse work often involves work at height to access products that are stacked high in order to make the most efficient use of space available.  Safety Fabrications supplies customers with a range of access solutions for working at height, including companionway ladders, step units, stairs and walkways.  Several of these access solutions are supplied in component form, ready to be assembled and installed in warehouses, some of which offer the option of onsite adjustment to ensure that they meet the specific requirements of each individual customer.

Warehouse work involves a range of health and safety risks, with the most common causes of accidents in the warehousing and storage industry as follows:

  • Slips and trips
  • Manual handling
  • Work at height
  • Vehicles in and around the warehouse
  • Being struck by a falling or moving object

In Part One of this article which was published last week, we published some advice on slips, trips and manual handling, so today, we’re going to cover the last three causes of accidents with some advice on how to mitigate the risks involved.

Work at Height – this includes maintenance work as well as the handling and moving of stock in warehouses.  Any work at height should be properly planned and supervised and then undertaken in a safe manner.  Work at height should be avoided where possible but if avoidance is not possible, then the correct type of access equipment should be provided.  In warehouses, the access equipment will usually be companionway ladders, step units, stairs and walkways.  Never use pallets on fork-lift trucks to access work at height or as working platforms.  Never climb on racking unless it is specifically designed for use as access equipment.  Every person who is expected to work at height should undergo the appropriate safety training for the equipment being used.  Some types of access equipment (for example mobile elevated work platforms or MEWPs) may require specialist training.

Vehicles – moving vehicles should be carefully managed to control and reduce the likelihood of accidents.  Visiting drivers should be supplied with the information necessary to ensure their own safety and that of others.  Workplace traffic routes should be suitable for the people and vehicles using them.  In instances where vehicles and people use the same traffic routes, there should be adequate separation between them or other control measures put in place if this is not possible.  Traffic routes should be designed to consider the vehicles being used and minimise the need to reverse, and avoid sharp bends and blind corners.

Falling or Moving Objects – If there are areas or activities in the warehouse with a risk of materials or objects striking somebody, make sure the area is clearly indicated and that only authorised personnel are allowed to enter.  Industrial truck and moving machinery operators should be adequately trained and all vehicles should be regularly maintained.  Storage areas should be properly designated and properly marked.  If pallet racking is used, the type of pallets used should be suitable for the type of racking and pallets should be properly loaded to ensure load stability.