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Four main health and safety pitfalls in warehouses

Posted by Marianne
July 11, 2014 in Features

Warehouses can be hazardous places for workers if proper health and safety procedures are not in place, so being aware of the most common safety problems is essential. If potential dangers are identified and dealt with then your warehouse will become a safer environment and your workforce will be better protected from illness and injury. The following are major pitfalls that should be avoided:

1. Inadequate racking

If a warehouse racking system is not designed correctly it may not be strong enough to bear the weight of the heaviest products being stored, which creates a potential hazard. It makes sense to plan your warehouse racking around the weights, sizes and shapes of the items that will be stored in it. Items need to be carefully positioned so that they cannot fall off the racking, and there should be adequate lighting and plenty of clearance for operating forklifts. The way in which the racking is loaded is important, as placing larger, heavier loads higher in the structure could create instability. There is also the issue of safe lifting, which is aided by putting big, heavy goods on lower shelves.

2. Failure to consider fire safety

Fire is a potentially devastating problem in a warehouse and fire extinguishers are essential pieces of equipment that all workers should be trained to use. There should be an emergency plan so that everyone knows where the nearest fire exits are, and regular fire drills will help to keep critical information fresh in the minds of all staff. It is no use having extinguishers that do not work, so regular checks are necessary to ensure all are fully operational. Fire exits are useless if they are locked or blocked and it is important to keep them clear, with appropriate signs and lighting. In some cases it may be possible to install a sprinkler system that integrates with your warehouse racking, providing an extra level of protection against fire.

3. Failure to divide areas

Different areas inside a warehouse are typically given over to different activities and, in the interests of safety, it may be sensible to install partitions to divide some spaces from others. For example, robust  steel partitioning  steel partitioning could be set up to separate workers from areas containing moving machinery, helping to prevent accidents from occurring. Their sturdiness and ability to resist moisture mean that steel partitions can also be used to create secure storage enclosures for hazardous substances. Logs should always be maintained that record any such substances stored inside your warehouse, and they should be clearly labelled and disposed of properly.

4. Uneven or slippery floors

In order to be safe, warehouse floors need to be clean, dry and free from clutter. An uneven floor could prove dangerous, causing workers to trip and fall, so  warehouse flooring  warehouse flooring is generally chosen for its durability, thus preventing damage and wear to its surface. As heavy objects may hit the floor in warehouses with substantial impact at times, heavy duty flooring materials such as concrete are often chosen and, in order to reduce the risks of slipping, a grippy surface such as rubber is frequently added. Using this combination of materials for  warehouse flooring  warehouse flooring offers both toughness and grip.

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