A recent court case involving an employee falling 10m during a warehouse refit has re-focussed attention on the potential dangers in the industry.
The Health and Safety Executive has produced a book on safety recommendations in the warehousing sector covering all aspects of safety procedures, and subsequent guidance pamphlets on safety procedures.
Some of the advice deals with safety barriers, installations often under-appreciated when it comes to compiling a handbook on safety within an organisation. Their very presence alerts staff to the fact that they are working in a potentially dangerous environment and should be constantly aware of their workplace surroundings.
In warehouses, these will include pallet racks, which can make for confined passageways. It is important that the layout of the workspace is well thought out. Firms are increasingly looking further afield for suppliers of racking Ireland providing examples of potential partners such as rackzone.ie/pallet-racking/.
The right design, including safety barriers, will mean that employees are constantly aware that they are in a zone which they share with moving vehicles. This will mean they are more likely to check their surroundings and take appropriate action should they encounter a machine.
It is a common mistake to imagine that safety barriers are only in place to control vehicular traffic. They also have a role to play in making pedestrian staff safer. Nonetheless, one of the advantages of introducing safety barriers is to protect your vehicles from damage or collisions with fixed or temporary installations which could prove costly.
Even when a collision occurs, a safety barrier will inevitably reduce any damage to property or injury to individuals. It is vital to choose a barrier which absorbs energy to reduce the possibility of a more serious incident. This is particularly important when the possible spin-off could be a more serious employee injury.
The safety installation should also be placed and designed to protect stock, and the potential costs incurred when inventory is damaged by disruption to the racking it is stored on.
In terms of reducing accidents, the safety barriers must stand out. They are not intended to blend in but rather highlight danger, and the need for care, to everyone visiting the workplace.
The correct system will protect drivers, store people, pedestrians and visitors and prove to be a sound investment.