Reducing risks in warehousing and storage

Slip and trip accidents, though often seen as trivial, are avoidable and serious problems in warehousing and storage.

In the warehousing and storage industries, most occupational health and safety hazards are posed by slips and trips, manual handling, working at height, forklifts and other vehicles, and moving or falling objects.

Work-related aches and pains include problems in the lower back and neck.

According to the Vocam Group, where a task involves a risk from manual handling, workers should attempt to avoid the task. If this cannot be done, the risk of injury should be minimised.

Any work at height, including maintenance work undertaken for a company by a contractor, must be properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe way.

While it is recommended to avoid work at height, it is possible to mitigate the risks by selecting correct equipment.

Stepladders or ladders are typically deemed high-risk pieces of equipment. If they are used, the company must be able to show that it is not reasonably practicable to select alternative, safer equipment because the task is of low risk and of short duration.

Operators should never use pallets on fork-lift trucks for accessing work at height or as working platforms. They should never climb on racking unless it is specifically designed for use as access equipment.

Access equipment like mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP) may also require specialist training. Moving vehicles need to be carefully managed to control and reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Risks are particularly high during deliveries, reversing, and if there are visitors around. Storage areas should be properly designated and clearly marked.

The layout of storage and handling areas should avoid tight corners, awkwardly placed doors, pillars, uneven surfaces and changes of gradient.

Vocam provides warehouse safety training solutions such as DVDs, online training and other learning systems.

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