Warehouse employees and their employers are often subject to demanding deadlines and timescales which force them to work to the maximum of their abilities. Unfortunately this sometimes means that mistakes are made and corners are cut in order to get the job finished on time.
When this happens, employees can be putting their health and safety on the line which can have damaging consequences for everyone involved, including serious injury as well as costly compensation claims.
In this blog post we will look at some of the most common forms of warehouse injuries and how they can be prevented with good health and safety practices as well as other preventative measures.
What are the most common causes of injuries?
The wide variety of tasks that warehouse workers undertake mean that they can be susceptible to a whole host of different injuries, but what are some of the most common types?
Slips and trips
Slips and trips are estimated to cost businesses an astounding £500 million each year but can be easily remedied by employing good health and safety practices.
It’s not uncommon for chemicals, oils, water and other products to make the floors of warehouses dirty and slippery or for loose items to be left on the floor such as pallets and packaging, but in order to prevent slips and trips regular cleaning and reporting of spills and blockages should take place.
Different types of flooring have different levels of resistance and smooth floors offer less resistance than rougher types of flooring. Correct footwear can also help somewhat to protect against slips and trips. Utilizing proper storage and good lighting is another way to minimise these types of injuries.
Manual handling injuries
As warehouse work can at times be physically demanding, manual handling injuries are not uncommon, with workers typically suffering from aches and pains as a result of physical strain.
Manual handling injuries often occur due to tasks which could have been adapted to be less painful – for example by bypassing the need to manually move items and to use mechanical devices like pallet trucks, trolleys, and lift trucks instead.
Preventing injuries caused by falls from a height
Sometimes workers in a warehouse will have to work at a height – when loading goods onto tall racking, for example. Where possible, the need for an employee to work at a height should be minimised and machinery should be used. However, if it is essential then safety equipment must be used to reduce the chances of an accident.
Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety or their employees and to educate them about health and safety protocols. To learn more about implementing health and safety standards, including risk assessments and other provisions click here to read our article: “A guide to health and safety in the workplace”.