Warehousing work activities can create numerous health and safety risks, an employer/supervisor/manager is legally required to implement and maintain safety procedures. Here are Heyn's tips on how to better protect workers from warehouse hazards and ensure that they can carry out work activities safely:
Workers who stand for long time periods in jobs such as packing or machine operating can get strained feet, legs and back due to the hard floors warehouses typically have to accommodate forklifts and pallet trucks. However, placing anti-fatigue mats
around worker areas will provide a softer floor and reduce tiredness, strain and fatigue.
Wet Floors due to cleaning, open doorways and machinery are all additional risks in the warehouse, by placing non-slip matting
in these high risk areas it can help prevent the risk of slips and falls. It is also recommended that entrance matting
be used in wet weather to minimise trip hazards and keep floors dry. It is also important to check for potholes regularly and arrange for any to be fixed if found as an uneven floor could increase the risk of accidents in the workplace. Cords shouldn't be stretched across aisles or placed under carpets and all aisles should be kept clear of tripping hazards. Carpets should be secure and free of tears, lumps and loose pieces.
Forklifts and other industrial vehicles in warehouses can be potentially dangerous, especially if visibility is low. It is important vehicle operators have a clear view of their surroundings to minimise the risk of collisions with other vehicles or workers on foot. The use of mirrors
at the end of pallet racking aisles or in other blind spots of a warehouse can show forklift drivers what’s waiting around the corner.
Creating safe walkways for pedestrians will also reduce the risk of injuries both indoors and outdoors. This can be done by separating the path with a physical barrier (eg: a fence or line of bollards) or with the use of painted lines on the floor, arrows and other floor signs
to mark transport routes, risk zones and fire exits/escape roots.
Wearing Personal Protective Equipment would also increase visibility and safety within the warehouse. Equipment such as hard hats, high visibility clothing
, safety shoes, goggles and ear defenders are all beneficial items to have when working in a warehouse depending on your needs however hard hats and high visibility clothing are essential in most warehouse sites.
It is essential to anticipate potential dangers in the workplace to minimise the risk of accidents, warehouses have a lot of open space and kindling meaning that fire can spread extremely rapidly. Not only do fires damage your warehouse and potentially harm workers but they also lead to the loss of valuable resources and production time. In fact, many businesses never fully recover from a serious fire. Frequent evacuation drills should be carried out to ensure personnel know what to do in such circumstances and that this information stays fresh in their minds. Fire alarms should also be tested weekly and there should be at least 1 designated Fire Warden. Fire extinguishers
should be easily accessible and fully charged at all times, it is a legal requirement to ensure escape routes are clearly marked, easy to access, wide enough and free of obstacles.
For more safety tips see our below guides for reducing risks in the workplace: