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Worst Mistakes to make when working at Height

May 31st, 2020 Comments off

Working at height retains the undesirable title of number one cause of accidents in the workplace. Things are certainly improving in the UK however, thanks to the increasing number of employers and staff undertaking the appropriate PASMA and IPAF training programs that ensure they are fully versed in safe working at height practice. However, the fact that accidents still happen is due, in large to the many common mistakes that are made when working at height. Let’s take a good look at what to avoid in order to reduce the risks of accidents.

Failing to gauge the risk

One of the gravest mistakes is failing to properly assess the risks for any given job. This is why the ‘working at height for managers’ training programs are crucial as they are responsible for risk assessment. The sorts of risks that should be assessed include environmental and weather conditions; fragile surfaces and risks below the working platform; the risk of falling objects; the suitability of equipment and the strength of the structure.

Lack of appropriate training

As already mentioned, accredited training programs by PASMA and IPAF are the industry standard and having staff and managers that are appropriately trained is the single biggest factor in mitigating against risk when working at height. Failure to ensure appropriate training has been given is a horrendous and potentially costly and disastrous mistake.

Inappropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is a vital tool in the armoury of those working at height in all kinds of environments and conditions. The kind of PPE needed depends on the job specifics and again appropriate training will aid in the decisions to be made. A failure to insure guard rails are fitted on MEWPs (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms) has been the cause of many avoidable accidents and fall arrest cable systems could have prevented injuries occurring from some falls, where there is already a high risk. Where there are no rails or fall arrest system, clear painted lines should be present so that everyone is aware of where the edges lie.

Inappropriate respect paid to ladders

The humble ladder is probably responsible for more accidents when working at height than any other piece of equipment, although chances are the fault usually lies with the user. Failing to set the ladder at the correct angle and secure it properly is a major cause of accident and making it clear that there is a ladder set, when in a pedestrian zone could have prevented many accidents caused when the ladder has been knocked by a passer-by. The longer that a ladder is used, the higher the risk of an accident. Ladders are only suitable for quick jobs.

Other Common mistakes with MEWPs

  • Failing to park them on firm, stable and flat terrain
  • Failing to wear safety harnesses
  • A lack of a trained operator at ground level
  • Failing to respect environmental conditions and weather changes.

As you can see, there are a great number of avoidable mistakes that are involved in accidents when working at height. By far the biggest among them is failing to ensure that everyone on site is properly trained.

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Why is Warehouse Safety Important?

May 31st, 2020 Comments off

The simple and perhaps most honest answer to this question is: because warehouses are dangerous. Warehouses are usually filled with moving machinery, lots of people carrying out different tasks, all with a degree of risk of injury and often getting in each other’s way, to a degree. Warehouse managers have a grave responsibility to mitigate against these risks by making warehouses as safe as they possible can.

A very significant number of people who work in a warehouse will have experienced some sort of injury during the course of this year, so safety should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind when it comes to the working environment in a warehouse. It is not just down to managers. Employees, supervisors and managers must work together, ensuring they are correctly trained and familiar with all of the procedure and protocol that is in place to help make their warehouse a safe one.

Worse than the statistics surrounding warehouse injuries are those surrounding fatalities as fatal injuries in warehouse based enterprises exceed the national average across every industry. This alone should be enough for everyone to sit up and take warehouse safety incredibly seriously, but on top of that poor warehouse safety can lead to poor productivity, morale, increased downtime and time off work as well as a bad working atmosphere leading to difficulty in recruiting staff. Over the duration, the money and time spent on ensuring that the requisite training is given and the resources are spent on ensuring warehouse safety will be repaid in financial and human terms.

Leaving the potential hazards of heavy machinery, forklifts and the like aside for a moment, one of the most common cause of accidents in warehouses is from slippery floors or tripping over obstacles. Falls, trips and slips are rife in warehouses and can be easily prevented by good safety procedure. If a spill occurs it should be dealt with following established cleaning procedures as a matter of urgency and where possible, mats, platforms and dry standing places should be assigned. Aisles and exits should always be kept clutter free and floors should not be a dumping ground.

Moving onto a very serious safety area in the warehouse and forklift driving and safety signage. There simply has to be incredibly clear pathways marked on the ground and signs up warning of the risk of collisions in order to mitigate against the very real risk of collision with pedestrian employees, damage to inventory and property and of course to the forklift itself. Safety barriers and column protectors are important tools in the armoury of a warehouse manager looking to avoid damage to stock and injuries to staff. All forklift handlers should be properly trained that goes for anyone using cherry pickers – handlers should have the relevant PASMA or IPAF training.

Finally, there can be any number of hazardous or dangerous materials in a warehouse. Safety procedures must be as watertight as the containers used to store dangerous chemicals. Suitable PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should always be used when cleaning up chemical spills or doing anything that could involve damage to hands, eyes or feet. Having procedure for safe disposal of hazardous materials is not only imperative from a safety perspective, but also environmentally.

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