Warehouses are hazardous workplaces. If health and safety isn't maintained to a very high standard at all times, it could lead to accidents and even fatalities. This is precisely why it's so important to uphold good standards of warehouse health and safety.
There are various hazards that warehouse workers are exposed to every day, but these risks can be minimised if they're properly managed.
This starts with a risk assessment which will identify all the different types of threats, how dangerous they can potentially be and present managers with ways to manage them. Here are some common warehouse hazards and how to manage the risks:
- Always Wear Slip-Resistant Safety Footwear
- Manual Handling
- Hit by Falling Objects
- Falls From Heights
- Moving Vehicles
- Storage and Racking
Always Wear Slip-Resistant Safety Footwear
Slips, trips and falls are the most common accident in all workplaces, not just in warehouses. There are various precautions that you can take to ensure that they’re avoided:
- Good general housekeeping. Clear aisles of hazards and obstacles, enforce an effective cleaning regime and provide adequate storage.
- Cables are fastened securely to the floor or the walls.
- Spillages are cleared immediately and appropriate warning notices are put in place.
- Adequate lighting.
- Slip-resistant footwear is provided.
We recommend X1100N81. The shoe will allow you to complete your shift with no worries at all. Not only are they water-resistant, but they're also puncture and clog resistant too for added protection. The perfect shoe to get the maximum out of your shifts everyday.
Warehouse work requires a lot of manual handling, lifting and moving a lot of heavy items. The majority of all injuries that occur in the warehouse are largely due to handling, so you should consider the following to maximise health and safety standards:
- Use equipment where necessary, for example, trolleys and pallet movers.
- Break up tasks into manageable loads.
- Use two or more people when required.
- Ensure aisles are clear of items.
- Adjust the height of working platforms to reduce bending and twisting.
- Always lift correctly.
Hit by Falling Objects
Usually, warehouse workers that are injured by falling objects are working in warehouses with very high ceilings. Items can fall from poorly designed racking, elevated platforms, working height, elevated platforms and moving vehicles.
Combat this by ensuring:
- Racking is designed, maintained and loaded in the correct, sensible way.
- Materials are stacked securely to prevent them from falling.
Falls from Height
Warehouses workers often have to work above ground level. Whether it’s stacking goods on high shelving, using ladders or working on elevated walkways.
The need for employees to work at height will never be completely removed, but it can be reduced. For example, by ensuring employees who have to work at heights are adequately trained and constantly briefed on the correct procedure before carrying out any work.
It’s common to find forklift trucks and other vehicles within a warehouse. Maintain a good standard of health and safety by:
- Regularly check that the vehicles are being driven correctly and are adequately maintained.
- Make sure the driver has had appropriate training.
- Avoid sharp bends or blind corners.
- Take into account features that will affect load stability, like steep slopes.
- Vehicles should be kitted out with warning lights, reversing sensors and audible alarms.
Storage and Racking
In warehouses, accidents can occur where good are stacked incorrectly, causing them to fall and injure operatives below. These accidents usually occur by:
Shelves being overloaded, which causes the shelves to collapse.
Unsafe method of stacking and retrieving goods from shelves. This often leads to falls or use of unsuitable ladders.
Reduce these risks by ensuring:
- Goods are stacked securely on shelves, with the heaviest being put towards the bottom.
- Racking is bolted to the floor and is capable of the loads.
- Racking is properly maintained.
- Regular inspection of pallets for storage and damaged ones are removed immediately.
- Staff are adequately trained in stacking and retrieving loads.
- Staff are wearing the correct PPE. For example, steel toe cap warehouse safety shoes.
Both Employers and Employees are Responsible for Maintaining Good Health and Safety Standards
It’s not only the health and safety officers who are responsible for the overall level of health and safety within the warehouse but also the members of staff too. It’s little things that staff can do on a day-to-day basis that will ensure that they’re safe at all times. The right practices and protocols might be put into place. but it's up to the warehouse team to make sure everyone is following them.
For example, wearing the correct PPE and workwear at all times will maintain good standards of warehouse health and safety. Warehouse safety shoes should be worn at all times. Plus, long shifts in warehouses can be stressful on your body, so find a pair of work shoes that offers support to your shins, joints and back.
We recommend Clyde. Here stylish meets safety and comfort, with the latest slip and puncture resistant safety technology, you can be sure that you'll be safe at all times in the warehouse.
Find Out More About Warehouse Safety Standards
So, now that you’ve read the basics on how to maintain good standards of health and safety, you should be able to start improving the conditions for your workers. But, if you want to find out more, download our free comprehensive guide on Warehouse Safety Standards - it covers everything crucial that you need to know.