There are a significant number of accidents every year within the storage and warehousing industry. Whilst many of the recorded injuries are considered to be relatively minor, around 20% involve serious injuries, including fractures and amputations. Certain precautionary steps and a clear warehouse safety strategy can go a long way towards reducing the risk of warehouse accidents and in this blog we look at the four main categories of warehouse accidents and provide advice as to how they may be avoided.
The most frequent causes of trips when unloading and loading in a warehouse are obstructions and faults in the flooring. All walkways should therefore be kept clear of obstructions such as debris or trailing wiring. A sufficient number of bins and facilities for the storage of items that might clog up the walkways should be available. The design of the walkways should also be correct, with all passages and stairways being wide enough to allow unloading and loading comfortably. Where the walkway is at height, suitable handrails should be provided. The floor needs to be smooth and without flaws to further reduce the risk of tripping.
Slips are generally caused by a failure to clean spillages from the floor. An alternative cause is the wearing of inappropriate footwear. To minimise the chances of a slipping accident, a clear regime for cleaning spillages should be devised and employees should be provided with (or receive instruction about) suitable footwear.
Many upper and lower limb disorders and general musculoskeletal problems are caused by repeated lifting when loading and unloading. Employees should be given instruction as to safe lifting techniques and procedures and lifting equipments need to be put in place to ensure that heavy and/or awkward loads are not lifted manually.
Accidents arising from working at height happen all too frequently. Falls can occur whilst loading to an elevated shelf or platform or when transporting cargo up a stairway. All elevated areas must be adequately secured with guard rails and such other protection as is assessed necessary to reduce the risk of a fall from height. Another potential cause of an accident when working at height arises if a piece of cargo or equipment is dropped from a height, placing those on the warehouse floor at risk of injury. Protective mesh or netting will not prevent the item from being dropped but should avoid the risk of it injuring another member of the workforce.
Collisions between fork-lift trucks and other loading/unloading vehicles and members of the workforce can cause serious injury. There is normally one, or more, key components to this type of warehouse accident. The site itself may be a contributory factor and all vehicular access must be adequately wide and free of obstruction. Secondly, the warehouse vehicles must be regularly inspected and properly serviced and maintained. Finally the vehicle drivers should be competent and their abilities regularly reviewed and re-training provided as necessary.
The key to safe unloading and loading in a warehouse is in recognising the likely areas of risk and taking steps to minimise these with a clear warehouse safety policy along the lines set out above. For more information on Fall-Pac Products please contact us at www.fall-pac.com