Warehouses are in a tough spot. They have to keep up with the demands of customers, clients, and eCommerce without any breaks. Many warehouses operate 24/7 to keep up with demand.
The challenges of multiple shifts and continuous workflow with little to no downtime can create pressure and the tendency to take risky shortcuts.
This is where it’s important to have a robust warehouse safety policy and system in place and an open corporate culture that upholds it.
In this article, we will explore why it’s important to make warehouse safety a priority, the most common risks warehouse employees face, and the steps you can take to make sure your warehouses uphold a first-class safety culture.
Many work-related accidents happen within the storage and warehousing industry every year, with thousands of RIDDOR reportable incidents recorded annually.
Past HSE reports have also stated that close to 20% of warehouse accidents were classified as major injuries such as fractures and amputations.
With such high risks, warehouse safety needs to be prioritised in every company. A robust warehouse safety system should be able to:
According to the HSE, the most common types of hazards in warehouses that lead to injuries are:
The hazards mentioned in the previous section are the most common hazards found in warehouses. It is not, however, a comprehensive list.
Risk assessments are a systematic way to determine the dangers that pose a risk to your warehouse workers, managers, or visitors. Conducting a risk assessment typically consists of five steps:
For more details on how to conduct each step, check out our article on the four types of risk management strategies for workplace health and safety.
Once you have identified the risks for your workers according to the type of work they conduct in the warehouse and the risks associated with their workspace environment, the next step is to implement the procedures that will keep them safe. Here are a few key ones.
Make sure you equip your warehouse managers and employees with the proper safety equipment according to the most common hazards or risks.
You should also have spare safety equipment on hand for visitors to use or to immediately replace any faulty safety equipment.
Some common safety equipment for each of the most common warehouse hazards identified earlier are as follows:
Safety equipment and procedures to prevent slips and trips:
Safety equipment and procedures to reduce injuries from working at height:
Safety equipment and procedures to reduce injuries from vehicle incidents:
Safety equipment and procedures to reduce injuries from moving or falling objects:
Employees must also be trained on how to take preventive actions like checking their surroundings, being aware of their own physical abilities, and how to properly use personal protective equipment.
You should also ensure that your employees are trained on how to respond to an incident. This can range from knowing what to do in case of fire to being trained in how to report incidents.
Incident reporting is an official recording of the facts related to a hazard, incident, or near miss that happened on the worksite.
Incident reporting is an important aspect of workplace safety because it can help organisations to:
In a warehouse environment, it is essential that employees are able to report hazards, incidents, or near misses as soon as they happen. Real-time incident reporting is critical in a warehouse environment.
Organisations that still rely on pen-and-paper incident reporting systems risk losing precious time to respond to incidents due to delays caused by submitting manual reports.
On the other hand, a mobile incident reporting software will allow employees to report a hazard, incident, or near-miss immediately on their mobile phones.
Once submitted, warehouse managers will receive instant notification of the incident, allowing them to respond immediately or warn other employees to avoid the hazards or danger zones.
Personal alarms for high-risk workers, such as lone worker safety devices, are becoming an increasingly common safety necessity. Most of these devices include a Man Down alarm, also known as a fall detection alarm.
These alarms are activated by weight or impact, which can detect when a worker has fallen and send out an audible alarm to notify others.
If the worker is okay, they can cancel the alarm within a few seconds. This cancellation will notify the monitoring team that they are okay.
However, if the worker is injured and does not or isn’t able to cancel the alarm, the device will send an alert or call the appointed monitoring team to get help.
Downtime in warehouses can have a significant impact on business. When the warehouse goes down for any reason, a company cannot fulfil its production schedules.
The results of this can be disastrous.
Regular inspections of facilities and equipment to ensure that they are in good working condition is the best way to keep warehouse operations running smoothly.
It is also important to conduct routine safety inspections to prevent incidents that can lead to a loss of manpower, damaged assets, or costly downtime issues.
Having a warehouse safety inspection checklist is necessary to keep incidents at bay.
A warehouse safety inspection checklist is a list of items that are routinely checked at regular intervals, such as before starting or ending a shift, daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
They can be conducted by managers, supervisors, or employees according to their area of responsibility.
Here are a few examples of items that can typically go on a warehouse safety inspection list:
There are many different types of warehouse safety systems that vary in their level of safety and cost. When choosing a safety system that meets your budget, it’s important to not compromise on your safety needs. You also want to make sure you don’t overpay for features you don’t need.
To help you choose or design a warehouse safety system that is a good fit for your budget and needs, we recommend considering these three important criteria:
Since reporting hazards, incidents, or near misses as soon as they happen is critical, it’s important to make real-time incident reporting easy for your employees.
We designed our Incidents platform to be mobile-friendly, so it’s easy for employees to report any hazard, incident, or near miss on the spot.
With a visually intuitive interface, it’s also easy to add additional notes, photos, documents, geolocation, and other media for higher quality reporting with context.
Having personal alarm notifications and data integrated in real-time with your incident reporting on one safety platform allows an organisation to streamline how they manage warehouse safety.
We’ve enabled Protector to seamlessly integrate with our lone worker devices and app, so you don’t need to worry about managing third-party solutions on different platforms.
Customisable incident reporting templates allow you to meet your specific safety needs. You also want to keep in mind the ability to easily downsize or scale up according to your business needs, so look out for features like easy-to-transfer app licences and flexible user management of lone working safety devices.
If you’re looking to improve your warehouse safety with a system that can make your warehouse day-to-day operations more efficient, productive, and proactive in safety, click here to talk to sales and discover how Protector can be customised to meet your needs and budget.