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Working in a Warehouse - Safety Issues

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Warehouse Work Safety Issues Staff

There are several health and safety issues to be concerned with if you are working in a warehouse and each staff member should be provided with a health and safety handbook which covers all of the main topics which you should be concerned with. Here is a summary of the main issues which a company operating a warehouse would need to consider, although this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Fire Safety

We are all familiar with the damage and total destruction that fire can cause to a warehouse having seen this depicted on the news on many occasions. Not only does a warehouse blaze place its own staff in danger but can also affect nearby housing sometimes causing entire residential areas to be evacuated. All staff should, therefore, familiarise themselves with the proper procedures to follow in the event of fire and all necessary precautions should be put in place to prevent a fire outbreak with fire extinguishers and fire blankets strategically placed in the event of containing a small fire and staff should be taught how to use them.

Staff Training

Warehouse staff do all kinds of different jobs within them so individually, they must all receive thorough training and supervision specific to their job and pass any examinations and obtain certified status wherever necessary. This includes working with any machinery such as fork lift trucks and equipment such as stock cages, hoists etc and where equipment is concerned, all records of maintenance checks and repairs should be kept up to date.

Hazardous Substances

If a warehouse contains any substances which could be classified as hazardous, data sheets from the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and any relevant assessments must be completed and kept up to date. In a warehouse, this could include cleaning chemicals, other chemicals which may be stored, forklift gases and engine oil, for example.

Electric and Gas Appliances

There must be stringent procedures in place for both the installation and inspection of all electrical and gas appliances which are located within the warehouse with any service, repairs or installations carried out by properly registered electricians and CORGI registered gas fitters.

Manual Handling

All relevant staff should receive proper training on manual handling techniques as there will be deliveries and the loading and unloading of lorries, for example. Incorrect manual handling can cause musculoskeletal disorders as well as causing other injuries and being unsafe in general and, wherever possible, manual handling should be minimised with the use of fork lift trucks and other lifting appliances being used in place where it’s possible to do so.

Traffic Routes

Warehouses often form part of much larger premises so health and safety would need to put in place procedures for keeping obstructions clear and maintaining safe routes for both vehicles and pedestrians.

Other Issues to Consider

These would include having visible and clear signage for visitors and external contractors, the latter whom would also need to understand the health and safety procedures relevant to the warehouse. There would also need to be adequate provision for toilets and rest areas as well as complying with all the relevant legislation concerning heating, lighting and ventilation and things like avoiding slips, trips and falls and any work at height.

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I would be grateful if you could possibly answer this question. If someone was pulling a manual pump truck with a quite heavy load (within load limit), properly loaded and the load wheel caught a nail or screw on the floor ( nail approx 3 inches long) could this possibly cause the wheel to jam and bring the pump truck to come to an abrupt halt? . Was told by an individual that this would be impossible and that truck would continue moving unhindered. What is your professional opinion of what would happen. Many thanks
Josh - 13-Mar-18 @ 1:14 PM
Unruly- Your Question:
I work in a Warehouse with forklifts. Are you aloud to operate the truck with nobody else in the warehouse?

Our Response:
You would have to read the rules of your health and safety manual at work, this should answer your question. Or your employee handbook, which should list the dos and don't attributed to your specific job.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 19-Jan-18 @ 11:22 AM
I work in a Warehouse with forklifts. Are you aloud to operate the truck with nobody else in the warehouse?
Unruly - 18-Jan-18 @ 9:51 AM
pedro - Your Question:
I drive a reach forklift truck at work. I work a ten hour shift with one 30 minute break. The driving work is repetitive moving pallets from A to B. Should I be given more shirt breaks from the driving or is one 30 minute break adequate?

Our Response:
An employee has the right to one 20 minute rest break during their working day, for every six hours or more they work. So, one 30 minute break over 10 hours is deemed adequate.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 4-Jan-18 @ 12:49 PM
I drive a reach forklift truck at work. I work a ten hour shift with one 30 minute break. The driving work is repetitive moving pallets from A to B. Should I be given more shirt breaks from the driving or is one 30 minute break adequate?
pedro - 3-Jan-18 @ 8:02 PM
Ms - Your Question:
Hi I am after some advice regarding chemicals in a warehouse I have a paint shop in the middle of our warehouse that has seen better days , the tubs that have the chemicals in the lids are off and yellow smoke bellows out of them. The doors are all shut due to the cold weather so no ventilation. Since this my asthma has been playing up and I have had to leave work twice now. Also I have been told the extractor fans have been condemned but don't know for sure. I am worried this is causing me to become ill. Please could I have some advise on what I can do please

Our Response:
You would need to speak with your employer directly regarding this matter. You should have a health and safety handbook in work and if your employer is not keeping in line with this, then you have recourse to complain.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 12-Dec-17 @ 3:06 PM
Hi I am after some advice regarding chemicals in a warehouse I have a paint shop in the middle of our warehouse that has seen better days , the tubs that have the chemicals in the lids are off and yellow smoke bellows out of them . The doors are all shut due to the cold weather so no ventilation.Since this my asthma has been playing up and I have had to leave work twice now . Also I have been toldthe extractor fans have been condemned but don't know for sure . I am worried this is causing me to become ill . Please could I have some advise on what I can do please
Ms - 12-Dec-17 @ 9:50 AM
i work in a warehouse but specifically a smaller section of the warehouse where there is no air circulation and no ventilation the internal fire doors ive been told have to remain closed at all times should the company provide some sort of air flow and ventilation to make for a comfortable working area
george - 28-Jul-17 @ 5:56 PM
I am responsible for implementing safety standards at the warehouses across different regions within India. All these warehouses does not have any kind of machinery, except, forklifts in a few warehouses, wrapping machines in fewer warehouses. My question is how we can implement Lock Out / Tag Out practices at such work areas with little or no risk of any machine getting started inadvertently? Please advise.
Happy - 5-Apr-17 @ 7:13 AM
I have been informed that I have to open the warehouse unsupervised at 7am. Bearing in mind that there is hundreds of thousands of pounds of stock, and a safe containing up to aprox£60,000 in cash. Where would I stand if I was attacked while opening up? The trading estate I work on has no cctv on site whatsoever, nor does the warehouse which I work. Please advise.
Gert - 2-Mar-17 @ 5:43 PM
I work in a warehouse where there is alot wrong i.e the carpet area is all ripped apart which causes a trip hazard , the lights have no fittings around them so if we lift up large objects they could easierly smash (tube lights) , and in alot of areas the celing is falling apart , the management know but know ever does anything about it also a diesel forklift drives theough the warehouse what can be done about these things ....
Keen - 20-Feb-17 @ 4:39 PM
bnig - Your Question:
Are you allowed to eat in a working warehouse environment. We have approximately 25 staff working and they are continually eating creating mess and now we have mice?

Our Response:
You may wish to speak to your line manager regarding this issue. As a rule, you should have a specific place to eat and it be regulated to break times only. You may also wish to look at your contract to see if it specifies anything regarding this.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 9-Feb-17 @ 11:13 AM
Are you allowed to eat in a working warehouse environment.We have approximately 25 staff working and they are continually eating creating mess and now we have mice?
bnig - 8-Feb-17 @ 1:24 PM
Jeff - Your Question:
I work in a warehouse and we have been asked to sweep up all ilses at end of shift.I have no problem with this but what I do have a problem with is the dust kicked up. Is there anything my employer should do??

Our Response:
You would have to speak to your employer directly regarding this. You can ask your employer to supply you with a mask.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 8-Feb-17 @ 12:04 PM
I work in a warehouse and we have been asked to sweep up all ilses at end of shift. I have no problem with this but what I do have a problem with is the dustkicked up. Is there anything my employer should do??
Jeff - 7-Feb-17 @ 9:42 PM
J.T.B - Your Question:
I work at a cash and carry store.is it a breach of health and safety if customers are allowed in the warehouse and back up fridges?any advice would be much appreciated.

Our Response:
You would have to look at your company's health and safety manuel to see whether it specifies customers are allowed in the warehouse, and if so what the safety protocol is.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 23-Jan-17 @ 2:13 PM
I work at a cash and carry store.is it a breach of health and safety if customers are allowed in the warehouse and back up fridges?any advice would be much appreciated.
J.T.B - 22-Jan-17 @ 5:52 PM
I work in a warehouse which is not verybig and we operate two folklifts and several pallet truck and we all work so close to each other in such a small area is this to dangerous
dav - 9-Sep-16 @ 11:35 PM
Jane - Your Question:
Sever dust in warehouse. Inhaling while working enormous amounts of dust. Resulting when I get home my chest and heart hurts. What can I do as an employee to improve my work environment?

Our Response:
Your employer is deemed responsible for complying with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), please see both the HSE page here and our article: Dangers of Dust in the Workplace, here for further information.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 16-May-16 @ 12:21 PM
Sever dust in warehouse. Inhaling while working enormous amounts of dust. Resulting when I get home my chest and heart hurts. What can I do as an employee to improve my work environment?
Jane - 15-May-16 @ 5:41 PM
I have recently been diagnosed with COPD, a disease that effects the lung and breathing. Before christmas the warehouse had massive clean up and we were sweeping the floors with brooms, the dust was awful, and everyone had a cough or cold. Surely there should be laws about the amount of dust that is in the air. This is a clothing and home store warehouse. Please could you give me some advice on this please.
Dolly - 4-Feb-16 @ 9:41 PM
I work in a warehouse and im lifting heavy stuff all the time on my own and unloading stuff ive asked for help they just say we dont need two people in the warehouse surely its against health and safety rules ive injured my self several times and been off work
chunk - 18-Sep-15 @ 9:39 AM
We had a cause for concern, When some of the boxes came falling out onto the floor when opening a container Door for un-loading in our warehouse which could possibly of hit someone. I'm now trying to prevent this causing anyone harm and been told to use a bed mattress on the floor but wouldn't this just cause more safety issues like fire hazard or falling over? I'm thinking the best safety option is to prevent the boxes falling out like using a net inside the container not try putting safety in place for it happening again. Which is right?
Eroe - 30-Jul-15 @ 3:34 PM
@deeno - what shouldn't be around is glass where someone can cut themselves on - it is this that should probably be removed to somewhere safer, not a sign put up. What was a child doing in a warehouse and how did she manage to cut herself?
Cass - 18-Mar-15 @ 12:23 PM
I would like an advise whether there is any health and safety sign I should use in the warehouse as recently a little girl cut her hand withglass whilst her mum was busy shopping.l will be very grateful for an urgent response as I recently took up this new job. Many thanks.
deeno - 15-Mar-15 @ 10:51 PM
I work in the warehouse alone, I am afaid something might happened to me and like a box fall on me and I cant get to a phone, should there be at lease two people always working in the warehouse because of safety reasons
Yolanda Bozonier - 16-Jun-14 @ 10:08 PM
i drive a forklift truck on nights and have been told no person can come within 3 mts of the forklift truck at any timeand i have to wear my high vis jacket on while im on the truck can anyone advise me on the hse,s regs on this as i can't find it on there website any advice would be much appreciated.
rob - 24-Mar-14 @ 5:46 PM
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