Warehouses can be particularly hazardous workplaces, especially when employees do not follow required safety protocol. The truth is, when we become complacent at our workplace, it’s easy to ‘forget’ certain safety rules. If you work in a warehouse you may even be guilty of this yourself. However, it is important to remember that it only takes one slip, trip, falling object or machinery accident to cause serious, life changing injuries or even death. Thankfully though there are many ways to prevent most warehouse accidents; we look at some below.
Warehouse operation requires the use of various types of heavy machinery. From forklifts and pallet jacks to cranes and hoists both operators and bystanders are at risk of machinery accidents if safety protocol isn’t followed. Here are some ways to be safer around warehouse machinery:
The person operating the machinery, whatever that may be should receive proper training so that they know how to use the equipment safely and confidently. Your employer should issue you with the training you need. If you feel as though you require additional training there are many programmes available which provide more in depth coaching, you can ask your employer about these.
If you are using a forklift hire company, ask if they provide a familiarisation course before renting. Familiarisation courses are helpful for adapting to different types of machinery, even if you have experience.
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Hi Vis Clothing
The use of the right PPE is absolutely essential for everyone in the warehouse. Whether you are just passing through or you are working in the warehouse you should wear Hi Vis clothing at all times. Usually, you should be able to find Hi Vis vests or jackets at the entrance of a warehouse, make sure you put on a Hi Vis vest, even if you are just passing through the warehouse briefly.
Wearing high visibility clothing will help machinery operators to see you as they are working, thus helping to prevent potential machinery accidents.
Falling objects is a common occurrence in warehouses and hard hats provide effective protection against them. Make sure to wear your hard hat when working in passing through the warehouse – it might just save your life!
Unsurprisingly, many heavy machinery accidents occur because of poor signposting. Designated pedestrian areas should be clearly marked so that pedestrians and machinery operators can see them. There should also be clear signage marking the operation of forklifts or any other heavy machinery. Any gradients, steps or uneven surfaces should also be clearly marked to prevent trips and falls.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Falls make up for a large percentage of workplace accidents, even more so inside the warehouse. To prevent falling accidents there are several things employees can do:
Warehouses should be well lit so that users can clearly their surroundings. Signs of any uneven surfaces and gradients should be clearly marked. If you think that the lighting in your workplace is potentially hazardous, speak to your employer about your concerns.
A poorly organised and maintained warehouse is a hazardous warehouse. Clear systems and designated zones should be in place for everything inside the warehouse, including machinery. Isles and walkways should be left clear and free of rubbish at all times to help prevent tripping accidents.
- Suitable Clothing and Shoes
Suitable clothing and correct footwear should be worn at all times when working in the warehouse. This includes protective gear but also sensible trousers and tops; even employees who do not work exclusively in the warehouse but may need to pass through from time to time should avoid flared trousers and sleeves, extra long skirts and heels. Steel toe cap boots are the best option for warehouse workers. Other employees should stick to sensible, flat footwear with an arch support. Ensure laces are properly tied at all times.
Every workplace in which manual lifting takes place should provide adequate training on how to do so properly, in order to prevent injury and accidents.