Making sure your warehouse is running smoothly and keeping your employees safe is absolutely crucial.
It's pretty alarming when you hear that in the UK alone, 123 workers lost their lives in 2021/22 because of workplace injuries. That's a pretty stark reminder of how important it is to step up safety measures, right?
So, let's dive into it a bit. We'll chat about 4 common warehouse hazards - things like fires and forklift accidents. But don't worry, we won't leave you hanging without solutions – we'll also discuss what measures warehouse managers can implement to prevent accidents and fatalities from these hazards.
A fire anywhere can be devastating, and a warehouse fire is no different. They can quickly spread and cause multiple fatalities among staff and damage stock and equipment, potentially forcing a whole business to close permanently.
Regular fire risk assessments and PAT testing are critical factors in preventing warehouse fires.
In addition, warehouse managers should encourage workers to report any equipment faults or defects and ensure all fire alarms are working, fire extinguishers are easily accessible, and all fire doors are closed.
A great way to keep fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and fire alarms easily accessible is by using Modulean® Fire Safety Shadow Boards. These boards come in various highly-visible 5S colours, ensuring they stand out in the warehouse, and keep fire equipment neatly organised and stored. They also come in a Rack End Board version, which makes fantastic use of otherwise redundant end-of-aisle racking space.
Slips and Trips
Slips and trips are another common warehouse hazard, usually caused by loose wires, tools left where they shouldn't be, and spillages that haven't been cleaned up.
Although the above may sound like easy issues to fix, the Health and Safety Executive states the following:
'Statistics show slipping and tripping to be the single most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces, and they are often the initiators of accidents attributed to other causes, such as some machinery accidents, scalding and falls from height.'
A key factor in preventing these sorts of accidents is ensuring you don't assume someone else will fix the problem - if you see a hazard, report it immediately or remove it if you can safely do so. Warehouse managers can also use anti-slip tape, line marking tapes and floor signs to highlight hazards.
Falling objects in a warehouse can prove fatal in some cases - especially if the accident involves heavy stock or equipment too heavy for the racking it's placed on.
In this case, weight-load notices become essential. They're crucial for maintaining a safe and efficient warehouse environment as they provide employees with clear information about weight limits and load capacities, helping to prevent accidents.
Combining weight-load notices with ensuring all items are fully secured can prevent many tragedies.
According to The UK Material Handling Association, the industry experiences over 1,300 forklift truck accidents annually, leading to an average of five accidents every workday in the UK alone.
Often, accidents are due to a lack of training or safety-conscious behaviour by the forklift operator. Warehouse managers can help reduce the risk of such accidents by providing all employees with up-to-date forklift training, ensuring all equipment is regularly checked, inspected, and maintained, and encouraging a clean and tidy warehouse.
Additionally, graphic floor signs are a simple, effective, and highly visible way of warning pedestrians about forklift truck areas.
Plus, while accident prevention is the ultimate goal, impact protection solutions such as rack-end barriers and Rack Armour® upright racking protection can help mitigate injury or damage in the event of a collision into warehouse racking.
At Beaverswood®, we make the workplace work smarter with our range of visual management products, suitable for lean manufacturing and 5S - or any workplace that needs to be safe, productive, and in order.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help make your warehouse a smarter and safer place to work.