In 2015/16, according to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an estimated 621,000 workers suffered a non-fatal injury and 144 workers were killed as a result of a workplace accident. No warehouse manager would ever want one of their employees to join either of those statistics.
Here at Mezz, we design and install mezzanine floors for a variety of businesses, and many of them are for warehouses. We always design our floors to the highest safety standards and make sure we meet all of the latest government building regulations. This means that we are very familiar with the various ways that warehouses are dangerous to the people who work in them. Please take a look at our quick guide to warehouse safety.
Always wear safety gear
It’s there for a reason. It takes two seconds to stick a hard hat on, or stick on some goggles. HSE reported that 10% of workplace deaths in 2015/16 were caused by moving or falling objects and 26% were caused by falling from a height. It can be tempting if you’re just popping into the warehouse for a little bit, not to put on safety gear, but accidents can strike at any point. A hardhat can easily save your life.
Keep the workplace tidy
Don’t leave stuff lying about. Even innocuous stuff like cardboard can trip people up or make them slip. Make sure that any spillages are cleaned up promptly and cannot lead to any employees slipping over. Packaging left strewn about is an accident waiting to happen and can obscure safety signs. Keep products stacked securely on shelves and tied up if they are prone to rolling. Perform regular safety checks to make sure that the warehouse stays free from clutter.
Remember proper lifting protocol
Lift with your legs, not your back – it’s something everyone knows, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to follow this advice (and it can certainly hurt not to!). If an object is too heavy to lift yourself, don’t be a hero, get someone else to help. If something is too heavy for the both of you, then have a qualified operator use a hydraulic dolly or forklift.
Don’t get complacent
Warehouse employees often have to do the same tasks over and over again, several times a day. When you repeatedly do a task, you will eventually start doing it without really thinking about it, kind of like you’re on autopilot, which is the brain’s way of making tasks easy and simple to do after they’ve been learned, allowing the brain to concentrate on other things. This can be good, but when you’re operating heavy machinery, like a forklift, you must always be aware of just how dangerous it can be.
Complacency can lead to negligence and accidents. Combat this with refresher training courses and well-visible safety signage. A great way to keep from getting complacent is to shout to other employees about your location and what you’re doing. It also keeps everyone aware of where each other is, which enormously reduces the chance of people and things bumping into each other.
Practice proper signage
Make sure that your workplace is clearly labelled to clearly mark out hazard areas. Dangerous machinery needs warning signs and signs that tell everyone that only qualified employees can come near it. Yellow tape or paint is an easy way to mark out areas that employees should take extra care in.
We never want any of our clients, or anyone else, to experience a warehouse accident, so we hope this guide will act as a little reminder for you. Safe workers are happy workers. Here at Mezz, safety of your employees is our top priority.