How can you ensure the safety of your staff and equipment in Ireland?
Warehouse safety should be a major concern, regardless of where your business operates. While Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) covers many aspects of workplace safety, it’s always best to take a holistic view. From manual handling to pallet racking inspections, here are a few important warehouse safety procedures that you should be following. For even more advice, take a look at our infographic below.
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Manual Handling and Loading
Manual handling injuries account for around 40% of all workplace injuries in the transport and storage sector. The demand for quick movement of goods must not come at the expense of employee welfare. Doing so not only puts individuals at risk, but workplace compensation claims could also harm the profits of a business.
Muscle strains and crush injuries are far too common, but manual handling training and safety procedures can reduce their likelihood. Heavy and awkwardly-shaped loads should be carried out by mechanical equipment where possible and all warehouse staff should have proper manual handling training before they begin working.
Another risk that warehouse operators face is injury when loading and unloading goods. Crush injuries can be fatal but are easily avoided. Vehicles should not be overloaded and mechanical equipment should be used where necessary. Loading areas should also be fitted with edge protection to prevent employees falling from height.
Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety
All warehouses with vehicles should have a clear traffic management system. Clearly marked vehicle areas, bollards and warning devices will keep your staff safe. Simple additions such as line markings ensure drivers and pedestrians stay as separate as possible. Adding designated crossing areas will prevent unexpected collisions between vehicles and pedestrians. For warehouses with customer collection zones, make sure that customers do not have to cross the path of vehicles.
Vehicles should be subject to daily maintenance checks, with things such as brakes, lights and steering being reviewed prior to every use. Install stopping distance indicators on floors and walls to take the guesswork away from vehicle operators.
Regular Pallet Racking Inspections
HSA does not provide strict guidelines on rack safety inspections. It does, however, endorse the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) suggestion on regular rack inspections. These should be carried out by a SEMA approved professional at least once per year.
HSE also recommends nominating a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS). This person should have specific training and carry out regular checks in conjunction with those by SEMA approved racking inspectors. Never assume that a third party carrying out work on storage equipment is the right person for the job. A mixture of PRRS and SEMA racking inspections will ensure that your warehouse abides by health and safety standards.