How to Avoid Warehouse Accidents? Common Dangers and Hazards

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 Forklift accidents create warehouse disaster in viral video

Accidents happen in the warehouse

Warehouse Accidents in UK and Main Regulations

Warehouses can be dangerous places to work. It is important to understand common warehouse dangers and hazards because they can cause injuries and in extreme cases death.

There are various type of accidents, resulting in injuries which range from minor to fatal. The most common are:

Slips, trips, and falls are common injuries in workplaces. In fact, the HSE reported that slips, trips, or falls accounted for the greatest amount of non-fatal injuries.

Slips, trips, and falls can often take place in a warehouse environment because of the fast-moving nature of this type of work. Hazards such as discarded boxes, box ties, cables or spilt substances can all cause injury. Failure to remove, identify or make safe a hazard is not only dangerous, but it also infringes health and safety.

Being struck by a falling object is another frequent warehouse injury, with the HSE reporting that 10% of non-fatal injuries in the workplace in 2018/19 are the result of a moving object. In a warehouse, failure to properly shelve items – because of a fellow employee’s carelessness or poorly constructed shelves – can cause serious head injuries. A heavy item falling on a worker could even cause a brain injury, particularly if a hard hat is not worn.

Forklift in a warehouse

 

Forklift accidents are among the most serious warehouse accidents, due to the sheer size of the vehicle and the fact that it operates in such proximity to workers on foot. One simple mistake can be extremely dangerous. Drivers often become too comfortable using forklifts, which can lead to carelessness. According to the British Safety Council, around 1,300 UK employees are hospitalised each year with serious injuries following a forklift accident. These injuries can range from fractures, dislocations, and broken bones to life-changing amputations.

A forklift driver crashed into a steel column at a warehouse in London, almost causing a floor above to collapse

 

WHICH LEGISLATIONS REGULATE WAREHOUSE SAFETY?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the umbrella legislation that regulates health and safety matters in workplaces throughout the UK. Other regulations emerge from this main legislation and address the management of warehouse and distribution centre safety. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) compiled a guide called “Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety in conjunction with the Warehousing Health and Safety Forum.” It is a joint committee with trade union, employer, and trade association representation. This guide covers everything related to health and safety in the distribution and storage industry. The stronger emphasis is on responsible warehouse practices, general prevention of avoidable risks and hazards and attendant information of accident and emergency procedures.

WAREHOUSE ACCIDENTS INCREASED INDIRECTLY FROM ONLINE SHOPPING

When COVID-19 spread, retailers closed their doors during lockdown and online shopping started to rise. As a result, Warehouse centres got busier. Amazon for example, told their employees to work overtime to tackle huge demand due to coronavirus pandemic (BBC news 17/03/2020).

Projections estimate that online sales will make up a third of all retail sales in the future.  Studies show that approximately 1.36 million square feet of warehousing space is required for every £1bn of online sales. Considering present and projected sales forecasts, an additional 92 million square feet of warehouse space comes into play. Increased space means an increase in workers, which leads to an increase in safety risks.

The escalation of e-commerce indirectly increased accidents in warehouses. As fulfilment centre employees work harder than ever to keep up with the demand in orders, they are prone to suffer accidents. Most incidents arise when workers become too busy to observe the safety rules. Employers must be aware of increased workloads and implement additional measures to respond to the risks related with these.

WAREHOUSE SAFETY BARRIERS SAVE PEOPLE’S LIVES

Kee Safety’s Protection system, provided and installed by Kee Systems, offers safety barriers designed to protect people, machinery, building walls, shelving, racks, doors, finished products and more.

When it comes to collisions between forklifts and people, people always lose.

Our Warehouse Traffic Protection products help you to prevent fatal accidents:

  • Safety Barriers create a safer workplace, reduce employee injuries, and improve productivity
  • Prevent accidents and damage caused by moving forklifts
  • Protect your most valuable assets – people and equipment – with products that are proven in the field.

When forklift drivers make an error, a guardrail designed to absorb the impact of a moving vehicle, safeguards your workplace from injuries and accidents.

Warehouse Traffic Protection

 

 

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