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General Principles for Improving Warehouse Safety

General Principles for Improving Warehouse Safety

With demand for warehouses growing in the UK, in part due to the rise of online sales platforms and drop-shipping companies, warehouse work is becoming a much more prominent vocation. This prominence has led to increased awareness of the various hazards associated with the vocation, and reinforced the importance of following the correct measures to ensure workplace safety and compliance. But what are the basic principles of warehouse safety?

Providing PPE

The provision of adequate PPE to employees that frequently encounter risks at work is a requirement by law. With regard to warehouse environments, there are a number of risks that cannot be fully controlled by other means – necessitating the provision of PPE to help reduce the risk of occupational injury.

Warehouse work involves a lot of heavy lifting, as well as the handling of tools and equipment such as pallet trucks. The risks inherent to working with your hands in this way include friction burns, cuts, splinters, grazes, and even chemical burns depending on the nature of the products stored on premises. Safety gloves can help mitigate the risks of injury from cuts and exposure to chemicals, while also reducing the likelihood of losing grip on an item.

Proper Signage

Signage is a vital part of any warehouse’s health and safety program; there may be areas that pose specific risks to workers or visitors, such as gangways at height or loading zones where powered and automated machinery are at work. Permanent signage to help visitors orient themselves can prevent accidental injury from straying into a hazardous area, while stringent COSHH regulations require any hazardous substances to not only be adequately stored but also effectively signposted.

Training

Health and safety training is the key process by which staff can be made safer at work, providing new recruits and industry veterans alike with the tools and knowledge necessary to navigate the warehouse safely, and ensure compliance with health and safety laws in the process.

For the onboarding of new employees, a hands-on training process that includes a tour of the warehouse and indications of hazards can be helpful. For old hands, legislation can be prone to change, leading some once-legal procedures to now fall foul of health and safety law. Consistent and regular training ensures everyone is on the same page, and no one employee can endanger another through misunderstanding of the law.

Secure Shelving

In a warehouse, safe and secure storage is a primary concern when it comes to employee well-being. It is extremely likely that products are being stored at height in order to maximize the usage of space in the warehouse. This makes the security of shelving paramount. Shelves should be checked for stability and wear on a regular basis, and fixed to surfaces where possible to prevent collapse. Shelf repair, service, or even replacement might require a big outlay of time and money, but that investment vastly outweighs the potential cost to human life in the event of an accident.


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by Dirk DeBie // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.