Working in a Warehouse – Safety Issues
When working in a warehouse, it is very important to be aware of health and safety at all times. A good employer will make sure each member of staff has a comprehensive written health and safety guide. In this article, we will take a look at the main health and safety issues you should be aware of, but don’t think this is a complete list!
Fire in a warehouse can cause devasting damage, and all staff should be familiar with evacuation procedures in the event a fire should start. Fire blankets and extinguishers must be placed throughout the warehouse, and staff should familiarise themselves with their locations and immediately put them to use to put out a small fire before it can do untold damage. If you are a warehouse owner, make sure your staff is taught how to use the fire safety equipment.
In a warehouse, the staff is usually required to do all kinds of diverse tasks, and it is important they are trained properly to do so. If a staff member is working with machinery such as stock cages, hoists, forklift trucks, etc, he should be trained to use each one and also know how to perform maintenance checks on the storage systems components and machinery. Records of maintenance inspections and any repairs undertaken should be filed and kept up to date.
Most warehouses will have substances which can be classed as hazardous, and these must be recorded on a data sheet from COSHH, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. Such substances include forklift gases, engine oil, and certain cleaning materials.
Electrical and Gas Equipment
Strict protocols must be in place for the installation and checking of electric and gas equipment. Any gas fitter should be CORGI registered, and only a registered electrician should be used for installing or repairing electrical appliances.
All pertinent staff should get adequate instruction on how to manually handle goods, as in a warehouse there will be deliveries that require trucks to be loaded and unloaded, and if heavy goods are not handled correctly musculoskeletal disorders and other injuries can occur. It is optimal to minimise manual handling where possible, and instead, use forklifts or alternative lifting appliances.
It isn’t just inside the warehouse where accidents can occur, but outside too. Warehouses are often part of a larger operation, so procedures need to be in place for keeping pathways clear and maintaining separate routes for vehicles and pedestrians.
Clear and visible signs for visitors explaining the health and safety measures in place for the warehouse should be a priority, along with adequate facilities such as toilets and rest areas. Make sure there is sufficient light and ventilation minimise the possibility of slips or falls, especially in areas where staff might be working at height.