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Warehouse Health & Safety

posted 31 Mar 2014, 04:00 by Unknown user   [ updated 8 May 2014, 02:42 ]
Generally any manufacturing company, and many other types of company, will require warehousing or some sort of storage space. Regardless of the size, managing warehouse space comes with risks. As a business owner, it is your legal duty to protect your employees and the general public from harm, to the extent that is possible. Key to safety is a good risk assessment, this will identify:
  • Where the potential dangers lie
  • Who is at risk, and
  • What you might do to mitigate the problem
Warehouse Health & Safety
In comparison far few accidents happen in the warehouse than in manufacturing or the transportation of the goods. Nevertheless, every year thousands of accidents, from minor through to serious injury, occur in a warehouse.

The HSE has published guidelines laying out the major areas to watch. Some of these being technical, and to do with the physical properties and limitations of your warehouse space. These include the usual things you may expect, that floors are level and robust, that there is adequate ventilation, heat and fire safety is observed, loading tolerances for shelving are met, and so on.

More broadly, there is attention to specific detail around handling - whether it be manual or mechanically - and best practice when working at height. However, the main guidelines consist of general material around responsible practice and the prevention of avoidable accidents. You can view the full guidelines from the HSE here.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) require that employers practice appropriate health and safety arrangements. These do not require that you eliminate the risk - just that you identify the risk and make every effort to protect your employees from those risks.

Common Warehouse problems

The most common warehouse safety incidents fall into three categories:
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Muscoloskeletal problems related to lifting, pulling, reaching etc.
  • Handling accidents like falling containers and forklift accidents
Roughly, a quarter of serious injuries are caused by trips and falls. Falls from height account for one in around seven major injuries, as does being hit by falling objects. Forklift accidents account for one in ten injuries.

How to avoid injury

The nature of serious incidents means that there are two things warehouse managers must do:
A large proportion of injuries are completely avoidable and many of insights you will gain are just common sense. 

What you may not have appreciated is that the worst accidents tend not to involve the obvious, trips and falls, falling containers or collisions. The worst injuries, being injuries that lead to seven days or more absences from work, are from manual handling practices. Almost half of longer absences are caused by manual handling issues. Injuries of the upper body (back, neck, shoulders and arms) are often caused by overexertion, poor posture and lifting technique. Other injuries to the feet, knees and ankles are caused by squatting and kneeling awkwardly. These comprise a significant proportion of the incidents that require time off work and compensation - demonstrating the need for, the value of, proper health and safety training.

SES run a comprehensive range of training courses that will ensure your employees are properly trained, these include:

Manual Handling

If you require a risk assessment or training then give us a call on 01279 873354 for free initial advice.