Playing it safe Focusing on safety in the warehouse

Welcome to the Warehouse feature. In these pages we have stories on the latest equipment and solutions to help you in your warehouse area.

Unlike other types of warehouses that are filled with products on racking and have pedestrian pickers working and forklift trucks rushing around replenishing stock, cash & carries are open to the public, with customers walking round. This puts the emphasis on safety and care for pedestrian visitors.

The components of the warehouse that need regular attention are readily identifiable – doors and curtains, lighting, racking and shelving, forklift trucks and pallet trucks. But the biggest risk is the forklifts. The faster your trucks work and the more productive you aspire to be, the bigger the risks become.

Forklift trucks need more respect than any other element of the cash and carry or delivered wholesale warehouse, because they are the single biggest safety hazard in the modern warehouse. Nothing else moves at the speed of your forklift trucks, or has the same potential for serious injuries.

Whether your forklifts are loading and unloading lorries, moving pallets around or working in the racking, these activities demand the maximum care and attention from forklift operators and supervisors.

The scale of industrial truck accidents remains considerable, despite many years of efforts from safety organisations, tougher legislation, and great strides in forklift safety improvement.

Around one in 20 UK deaths at work across all industry sectors involves forklifts. Every day on average sees four serious forkliftrelated accidents, one or more of which involves major injuries, resulting in a hospital stay or worse. The fines for the companies involved can be severe, and the damages bigger still. But worse than that there’s the potentially crippling cost to your reputation.

If you are a large operation, you should work closely on the whole area of safety with your forklift fleet provider. And if you are a smaller business, you need to talk to whoever services your forklifts. In both instances you need to take a critical look at the way your staff use forklifts and impose strictly observed speed limits, backed up by clearly visible signage. All staff who operate fork lifts should be given adequate training by accredited trainers, not just a quick lesson from someone who knows how to use a fork lift. And the people who manage the operators should be kept up to date with training too.

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