As an employer, it’s your responsibility to protect all those who work in as well as access your building. However, within a factory or warehouse, this can be a significant challenge, as the risk of injury or death is typically far higher compared with most other working environments.
Therefore, it’s essential that all those in charge of workplace safety and wellbeing fully understand the potential hazards so that they can be minimised as much as possible.
While every workplace should conduct thorough safety assessments to identify unique challenges within the building or profession that specifically relates to them, here is a general overview of what to look out for.
Endless carrying, lifting, pushing, reaching and even walking can all take their toll on the human body. Even a mild physical strain can result in lost productivity, especially if the worker requires time off to recover or a change in their working conditions.
Over time, physical strain can cause debilitating chronic pain, which may result in the worker having to give up their job. Legal action may also follow if it is deemed the injuries sustained were avoidable.
Solution: Installing mechanical handling systems can reduce physical strain and improve the overall efficiency of the workplace.
Where manual handling or work cannot be avoided, the correct training should be in place to minimise the risk of injury.
Did you know that around 1,300 employees a year are hospitalised due to forklift accidents?
The very nature of machinery is that it’s often heavy, loud and contains various moving parts that can be incredibly dangerous. Sadly, machinery accidents are rarely ‘minor’ in nature and often result in life changing injuries as well as death.
Solution: Having the utmost regard for health and safety procedures will greatly reduce the chances of an accident involving machinery. The approach needs to look at the machinery itself, by carrying out regular inspections to ensure it is safe to use. In addition, staff who use the machinery or who may come into contact with it within the wider factory or warehouse environment, should be given thorough training on how to avoid injuring themselves and others.
In either a factory or warehouse, it’s highly likely there are a number of items stacked on shelves. Likewise, deliveries may also be coming in that pose a hazard, especially if they are so heavy or large that pallets and forklifts are required to transport them.
Items that are awkwardly balanced or not secured have the potential to fall and injure if not kill people.
Solution: Always ensure items are correctly lifted and placed so that they cannot fall including if they are accidentally knocked or brushed against. Also, restrict access to dangerous areas for anyone who is not authorised or safety trained.
It’s easy to think of potential hazards in industrial environments when the reality is poor mental or even fatigue can lead to impaired decision making or slower reaction times, both of which can contribute to accidents within the workplace, especially if the person is operating machinery.
Solution: Creating a workplace environment that embraces mental health, particularly in relation to managing stress is essential. Employees must be of sound mental judgement before operating machinery or coming into contact with possible hazards.
Also remember that tiredness can also impair judgement, which is why a close relationship with the factory or warehouse supervisor is essential to identify any potential risks to employee safety.
Trips, Slips And Falls
The most common cause of workplace death is falls, according to the HSE. Likewise, slips and trips can also be extremely dangerous, not least if there is potential for additional injury such as making contact with moving machinery or falling downstairs as just two examples.
Solution: Surfaces must be monitored to ensure they are not slippery or built using unsuitable materials that could contribute to slips and trips.
When working at height, employees must be protected by a fall protection system. Workers must only work at height if no alternative can be found, which will greatly reduce the risk of falls.
Abseil equipment is also ideal for workers such as IRATA trained & certified window cleaners.
Workplace Safety Solutions UK
Metreel is a leading supplier of workplace solutions including handling, fall protection and powerfeed systems. We’re based in Ilkeston, Derbyshire covering the UK and beyond.
If you would like to find out more about our products, or if you’re interested in any other of the services we provide, please give us a call on 0115 647 0451, or drop us an email.
Alternatively, check out the Metreel Brochure to discover our full range of products and services.