Warehouses have a firm place in the UK’s manufacturing sector. And with the rise of omni-channel retailing, they’re becoming even more common. As more and more customers buy online, those working at processing warehouses are grafting away in the background to keep up with demand.
Inevitably, warehouses can be full of hazards due to these large spaces housing large objects, vehicles and machinery. As a result of this, warehousing and storage safety is hot on the government’s agenda. Here are a few steps that can be taken by warehouse owners to improve safety across the premises.
Eliminating slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls are a notorious cause of workplace accidents. And in warehouse settings, this can have severe consequences. Warning signs should be used by staff, particularly cleaning staff, to flag any slippery or unsafe surfaces that might lead to an accident. On top of this, general housekeeping should be kept to a good standard by staff to avoid unsafe items being left lying around, creating hazards.
The right footwear can be made part of your protocol so that staff are kept safe at all times. Anti-slip paint can also be used to help reduce any risks and the right substances should be used to clean the floors to help minimise slips.
Vehicles are often used to move large items around warehouses, with larger spaces facilitating more of this. Both delivery drivers and warehouse staff involved with collection processes should communicate with each other so that hazards are kept to a minimum.
This is especially important if there are any language barriers. Any information should be given in advance of the delivery so that the driver is equipped with any safety information. Technology like sensors and flashing lights can help raise awareness and reduce accidents.
Due to the sheer size of some warehouses, machine-assisted lifting methods are often used to move and raise heavy items. This takes the strain off workers, who should follow a maximum safe working load (SWL) attempting this for themselves, however, a different set of hazards can arise from these machines.
Workers should approach them with caution, with only fully trained staff operating them. Machine and vehicle maintenance is important too – you may need to invest in grease, oil or lubricant dispensers such as these.
Due to the amount of flammable materials in warehouses, fire safety is paramount. As well as worker fatalities or injuries, there is also a risk of stock becoming compromised, as fires can spread rapidly.
Sufficient fire safety equipment and technology should be installed, such as fire alarms, smoke alarms and emergency lights to help form an escape route. As well as this, regular fire drills should take place, with appointed fire wardens who take on additional responsibility to facilitate emergency plans or drills.