It might be the health and safety officer’s job to ensure that everything is safe and the laws are being abided by, but you should also have your own responsibility to keep your team's and your own wellbeing in the forefront of your mind too. There are lots of risks and hazards that can crop up in the warehouse environment, which is why these regulations do matter.
- What are the Risks of Working in a Warehouse?
- What Regulations Should be in Place?
- Is There Anything You Can do to Enhance Your Own Safety?
What are the Risks of Working in a Warehouse?
Within a warehouse environment, there are plenty of health and safety hazards that can cause serious injuries if they’re not controlled. As mentioned, if the proper stacking regulations aren’t adhered to, they can be pretty dangerous places to work. Regulations are there for a reason and although it may seem like they’re forever growing, they’re in place to keep you safe. So, it's important that you follow them.
Before any work is carried out within the warehouse, a risk assessment should be carried out by your employer. This inspection identifies and analyses each risk, stating how it can be controlled and the risk minimised. It doesn’t matter the size or severity of the risk, it should be included in the document.
For example, whether it’s forklift truck tyres making the shop floor slippery after being outside, or machinery that requires a trained operator, they should both be included in the initial risk assessment.
The main risks that warehouse workers come up against on a day-to-day basis are:
- Manual handling injuries. As it’s so common practice in this job role, the majority of accidents are from poor manual handling. Whether it’s a bad lifting technique, messy aisles or trying to lift something too heavy.
- Slips, trips and falls. These are common in the majority of workplaces and warehouses aren’t any different. Inadequate lighting, loose cables and poor housekeeping are all factors that contribute to and bolster the rate of these accidents.
- Falling objects. Poor stacking practice or unsuitable racking can cause materials to fall from a height onto a worker below. Racking should always be maintained and the heaviest materials should always be stacked from the bottom.
- Moving vehicles. Dependant on the size of the warehouse, there’ll be different vehicles operating around the warehouse. If these vehicles are driven negligently, improperly maintained or the driver hasn’t been trained properly, accidents can happen.
- Storage and racking. Overloaded shelves can collapse easily. Also, falls are common due to an unsafe method of stacking and retrieving the materials from the shelves.
So, as you can see, warehouses have a lot of potential hazards that could catch you out. And these are just the most common ones so there are plenty of hidden hazards in a warehouse too. Dolce 81 can protect you from all of these hazards and make sure you get through your shift safely.
What Regulations Should Be in Place?
In order to keep their workforce safe from these hazards, employers should have worked with a health and safety consultant or officer to put regulations in place to control these risks. Minimising risks can sometimes feel like an impossible task because some risks can’t 100 percent be eliminated, but they can be controlled.
This can be overwhelming for the employer and consultant when trying to work out how to minimise each risk in a warehouse. There can be a lot which means that there are going to be a lot of regulations that you, as an employee, will have to abide by to stay safe. We understand, some of them might be tedious but they’re crucial to creating a safe, productive and efficient way of working.
One major regulation that should be in place is ensuring warehouse teams are always wearing the appropriate PPE. For example, hi-vis items of clothing make sure that you're visible while you work and slip-resistant footwear keeps you comfortable, supported and protected from slips, trips and falls. After all, safety starts from the ground up. Check out our range of safety wear designed specifically for warehouse work.
Making sure that PPE regulations are always followed will help with onboarding too so that all employees are carrying out their work in a safe and accident-free fashion.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Enhance Your Own Safety?
As well as following safety regulations, it’s your own duty of care to ensure that you’re working to as safe standard as you possibly can. Never cut corners on the regulations - it’ll only backfire should anything unfortunately go wrong.
Your employer should provide the correct PPE workwear in order for you to do your job as safely as possible. This includes warehouse safety shoes. Industry specific shoes are built for purpose, to protect you from the many hazards in a warehouse. They're often overlooked, but they shouldn't be and they're definitely worth spending a little more on rather than an unsuitable high-street alternative. We recommend X1100N81.
Find Out More About Warehouse Safety
Now that you’re aware of why stacking regulations do matter, download our comprehensive free guide below to find out the complete ins and outs of warehouse safety. No-one deserves to work in an unsafe environment, so it’s crucial you’re in the know so you’re confident that you’re going to have a safe, enjoyable shift.