There are many key components in ensuring that a warehouse remains a safe work environment. Some of these involve training and education, while others involve more tangible and structural additions such as FD60 or FD30 fire doors, first aid kits and clear safety signage around the warehouse.
While warehouses can be dangerous places because of certain pieces of equipment, trip hazards or inadequate lighting, firstly it is vital to recognise that the greatest potential for danger comes from the people working in it. Ensuring that the warehouse is a drug free zone is of paramount importance, especially when you consider that employees who use drugs are over three times more likely to have accidents at work than those who do not. Tolerating drug use not only endangers the life of the user but also their colleagues. Most companies find five-panel drug tests more than adequate in preventing and catching drug use.
Training is another vital part of ensuring that the employees working in the warehouse are well versed in safety protocol and best practice in health and safety especially in terms of manual handling and manual handling devices.
Training in manual handling is a huge factor in forging a safe warehouse environment and should cover…
- Risk factors in manual handling and why injuries happen
- Techniques for safe manual handling
- Systems to implement task management and familiarity with the work environment
- Use of mechanical equipment in the warehouse
- Practical work in front of the trainer to adjust any poor practice or habits
Fire risk in a warehouse is a deadly serious matter. With so much flammable material around it is vital that precautions are taken. As well as the hugely important fire safety doors (FD30, which provide 30 minutes fire safety are usually the door of choice) there are a number of measures that should be taken. One fire could destroy a warehouse but fires are almost entirely preventable. The following are mandatory procedures:
- Correctly marked exits
- Safety barriers from any hazards
- Fire extinguishers that pass tests
- Building permits for all extensions
- Worn and exposed wires must be eliminated
- Flammable fluids and gasses must be stored correctly
- Electrical cords and wiring should be safely out of harm’s way
Trips and falls are a common occurrence in a warehouse environment and it is imperative that measures are taken to reduce the frequency of such accidents. While working at height training is also vital, not all such accidents occur when working at height. Employees must be trained to stay aware of their surroundings, most notably around loading bays and pallet racking. In addition it is important that in spots where there is a drop between floors there is proper guard railing. Warehouse guard rails, when properly installed have been shown to substantially reduce such accidents.
To further mitigate against slips and trips in the warehouse the following tips are very useful:
- Loose material on the floor (e.g. sawdust)
- Liquid spillages (when they do occur, they should be dealt with as a matter of priority)
- Unnecessary steps, drops and bumps
- Piles of boxes and packaging material
- Poorly lit areas where work is happening