Health and Safety in the Warehouse

It is essential business owners prioritise the health and safety of their workforce. Whatever the industry, employers have a duty of care to their employees. This is especially the case in work environments like warehouses which pose a greater risk to the health of the employees. Here, there are risks workers need be aware of and protective measures should be in place to ensure the safety of your team. 

Our guide covers key areas to focus on and points to cover.   

The common workplace injuries 

Even if you have strict health and safety measures in place, injuries do happen. Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive reveal that annually between 2017/18 and 2019/20, 610,000 workers on average were injured in workplace accidents. An additional 559,000 workers suffered a new case of ill health that they believed was caused or made worse by their work.  

Slips, trips, or falls accounted for 29% of non-fatal injuries in the 2019/20 period, while almost a fifth (19%) of injuries were caused by handling, lifting or carrying, and 11% were struck be a moving object.  

While many of these injuries can happen in almost industry, there is a greater risk in hands-on settings such as warehouses.   

How to protect your staff 

One area to focus on when assessing how to protect your warehouse staff is the PPE levels. Protective equipment shields workers, acting as an added layer between them and potential hazards. Hard hats, ear plugs for any loud machinery, and protective gloves are just a few examples of PPE you could provide to your staff. Another main one to consider is footwear. Ensuring staff have good quality steel toe boots and other protective clothing can help to keep them safe around warehouse machinery.  Additionally, if your staffs work with harmful fumes, you should complement wearing masks with a drum fan to help with air circulation.

Manual handling guide 

Lifting is required in warehouses, so you’ll need to make sure your team have a good understanding of how to tackle manual handling.  

To do this, set aside lifting duties to the people you think are capable and if there are larger loads, get employees to share the weight. Also, prioritize manual handling training so that employees are aware of the correct lifting methods to avoid injury, including safe bin lifting equipment.

Is there enough equipment in place in your warehouse to help with lifting? Trolleys, pulley systems, and forklift attachments are all necessary. Again, staff will need to be fully trained up to operate this machinery. 

Other risks 

As well as warehouse-specific risks, it’s important to be aware of other hazards. Fire safety is paramount here. Warehouses need access to fire doors and staff should know what to do in the event of a fire.  

Appoint a fire marshal and create a fire exit strategy. Carry out fire drills so that all warehouse staff – old and new -know where to assemble. It’s also important to have First Aid trained personnel in the warehouse and provide staff with clear information on who to approach in the event of an accident.

Take the time to regularly update your safety guide for your workplace, especially if you work with contract employees who need to be shown the ropes. Be open with your employees about the safety procedures in place and remind them that these are there to protect them.  

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