We may mock health and safety warriors, but in warehousing if you don’t keep health and safety guidelines strict it can end with injured staff or worse.
If you’re storing shelves of stock, employ warehouse staff, conduct logistical labour activities or store products containing chemicals then you’re faced with potential hazard zones.
Keeping health and safety risks to a minimum takes planning, organisation and careful management of your warehouse. Here are a few steps to consider:
Warehouse Design & Layout
The design, layout and temperature of your warehouse should allow safe movement of goods and people to reduce injuries and damage to stock. This should be considered when organising storage areas, aisles, staircases and ramps, emergency escape routes, and loading and unloading procedures for vehicles and people. Your warehouse should be sufficient to withstand the amount and type of stock you are storing e.g. space and surfaces to avoid chemical corrosion or staff injuries.
Manual handling tasks, such as excessive lifting, pushing or pulling and twisting, can cause musculoskeletal disorders. If a risky manual task cannot be avoided, then the risk of injury must be minimised, utilise mechanical handling devices such as fork lift trucks or trolleys, ask other employees to help and adopt the correct posture and technique to carry out tasks safely.
Control exposure to hazardous situations and materials, such as adhesives, fumes, dust and bacteria. Clear leaks and spillages quickly and safely, repair punctures to containers, consider the length of time you are exposed to fumes, and avoid mixing incompatible products during storage such as chemicals and flammable liquids.
Your storeroom should not be overstocked and you should consider having a set of instructions specifying the maximum storage capacity for each area. Overstocked warehouses can result in products and boxes being left in aisles which could lead to injuries. Organising your stock is just as important as your warehouse layout, gangways should be kept clear to avoid injuries and damage to stock and to have a safe emergency escape route.
Some products, such as food or chemicals, may degrade or become unstable during prolonged storage or if stored at incorrect temperatures. The supplier or manufacturer should provide you with information on recommended storage conditions and latest storage date. Use careful stock rotation to avoid exceeding recommended storage time, temperature ranges should be constantly managed and inspect stock to detect any damage or deteriorating packaging.
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