Every year, hundreds of accidents occur in different warehouses across the UK. As a matter of fact, the rate of fatal injuries occurring in the warehousing industry is very high when compared to the national average rate for other industries. This is due to the fact that employees and workers are always confronted with a variety of potential hazards every day, including:
1. Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common warehouse hazards that usually cause injuries. To prevent the majority of slips and trips, it is very important for you to get rid of liquids, boxes, and other loose materials from the floor. You should also light all dark areas.
A fire can bring down your entire warehouse and even kill some of your employees. Apart from installing smoke detectors, having fire extinguishers and appropriate emergency exits, you should also do the following:
Store all inflammable gases and liquids such as paint thinner, alcohol, and paint in proper containers and keep them far from heat sources.
Do not allow anyone to light matches or smoke inside the warehouse.
Make sure all electrical equipment is connected properly and in good working order. If some wires are frayed or are not in good condition, consider calling an experienced electrician to replace or fix them for you. Do not try to fix the problems on your own unless you are a trained electrician.
Discard fire hazards, such as oily rags and papers, by placing them in covered metal containers and empty them regularly.
3. Falling Objects
Objects that are not stacked properly can easily fall on people and cause accidents. To avoid objects falling unnecessarily, make sure they are stacked neatly and correctly at all times. Keep all objects away from the edges or railings. Stack them on flat and not slanting or crooked surfaces.
Whenever loads are being lifted, moved, or lowered using forklifts, make sure everyone in the area is fully aware and visible. Be sure to place a trained spotter nearby in case the loads being stacked on high platforms or shelves have the potential of tumbling or falling over the other side, that way they can raise the alarm to let others know of any potential danger. If possible, consider restricting the heavy moving operations and stacking to hours when there are fewer or no people around.
4. Heavy Equipment Accidents
When employees operate heavy equipment such as forklifts on a daily basis, they tend to get complacent and begin to underestimate the dangers of the machines. It is the manager’s duty to ensure all employees understand the potential dangers of forklifts and other heavy warehouse machines. The operators should always be sober and cautious when using the machines. They should follow all the instructions provided for the equipment so as to avoid unnecessary accidents. In addition, it is very important to schedule regular maintenance of your heavy equipment. Broken or damaged heavy vehicles can easily cause very serious injuries or deaths.
5. Lack of Safety Education
If you fail to provide adequate safety training to your employees, your warehouse will not be able to perform as required. Do not be tempted to skip safety training, or provide inadequate operator training just to save money. This will not only lead to more workplace injuries, but could leave you open to legal action by the HSE if you are found to be in breach of health and safety legislation.
So, if you want to boost production and minimise avoidable accidents, you should ensure all new employees are trained to work with and around the machinery at your premises, and that all staff undergo regular refresher training to keep them sharp and focused on safety.