Warehousing and Logistics can be a dangerous environment to work in, with many potential hazards and associated risks. In 2010/11 there were 157 major injuries to workers in warehousing and logistics reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and research has found that the most common injuries in the warehousing and logistics industries are caused by activities and tasks such as –

  • Manual handling
  • Movement and storage of warehouse stock
  • Operating forklift trucks
  • Loading and unloading vehicles

These daily tasks make workers particularly susceptible to back injuries, slips trips and falls and more major accidents such as collision with moving forklifts and vehicles. Warehouse and logistics safety is one which depends upon risk assessments and solutions to pre-empt and prevent accidents occurring by following the hierarchy of control.

The risks

Some of the most common injuries in the warehousing and logistics sector relate to:

  • Manual handling tasks
  • Working at height
  • Workplace transport
  • Slips and trips
  • Falling objects

The solution

Manual handling

While accidents do happen, the risk of injury can be significantly lowered by ensuring that there are sufficient manual handling procedures in place and that staff are made aware of the proper techniques. Learning manual handling techniques will ensure that workers are well equipped with the knowledge they need to carry out their work safely. Providing suitable and sufficient training that is relevant to the tasks completed at work also helps minimise any potential manual handling injures.

Working at height

It is not unusual for warehouse/logistics workers to have to work at height, for instance stacking goods on high shelving, using ladders or mechanical pickers, dock levellers or working on the bed of containers/trailers. If possible, the need for employees to work at heights should be avoided. If working at heights is necessary, equipment that prevents falls from heights should be used and sufficient training for working at heights should be given.

Workplace transport

Warehouses typically have a wide variety of traffic. That warehouse traffic can include forklifts and pedestrians. It may also include large tractor units, trailers and cars. With this varied mix of traffic, warehouse traffic safety becomes a critical issue. Completing traffic management plans for site and trying to segregate plant/vehicle movements away from pedestrians follows best practice in regards to HSE Guidance. Implemented drivers safety areas help provide a safe place for drivers whilst loading and unloading of vehicles are carried out.

Slips and trips

Slips and trips are still one of the most common workplace accidents. A few ways to help prevent slips and trips on site are:-

  • Good housekeeping skills around site
  • Minimise any trailing leads
  • Have a spill process implemented with reporting procedures and spill kits available on site
  • Use the correct safety footwear when at work
  • Ensure walk routes are suitable with safe clear ground conditions
  • Vehicle parking areas are a firm flat surface for safe access and egress from HGV Vehicles
Falling objects

Incidents involving injuries from a falling object are commonly associated with operators pallet pushing whilst loading vehicles, poorly loaded goods on vehicles, bad bulk stored materials, poor storage within racking systems and pallet rebuilds with product.

Solutions are to ensure items stored are stable and secure on pallets and storing heavier items on or near the ground and lighter items higher up. Give careful consideration to methods of stacking, handling and movement of goods to prevent articles falling. Complete distant load checks on deliveries received and always load trailers from both sides where side loading is required to eliminate pallet pushing on beds of vehicles.

From manual handling training, advice on on-site traffic management plans, safe systems of work procedures and site audits/inspections we can help to make your warehouse and logistics environment a safe place to work for everyone.

For further information on warehouse and logistics safety, please contact us here.