How to prevent shelving accidents

According to the HSE, over 40 million working days are lost per year as a result of workplace accidents or illnesses, and accidents relating to shelving contribute to this figure. Of course, not all of these are related to accidents involving shelving, there are many other causes, but accidents of this type are relatively easy to deal with, if you follow these tips.

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Personal Protective Equipment

Never a substitute for other precautions, PPE is always a useful back up to help prevent injury. Hard hats are a must when there are items stored above head height, which is the case in most warehouses. Hi-vis jackets are pretty self-explanatory, and boots with reinforced toes will make a difference if something lands on someone’s toes.

Suitable shelving

The HSE says that one of the five main causes of accidents related to warehouses and storage areas is moving or falling objects, https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg412.pdf. This may be because boxes are often not stacked properly or stacked with irregularly shaped objects, which makes them more likely to fall. The simple way to manage this is to ensure that you use the correct type of specialist racking, something designed for what you need.

For example, if you are storing heavy objects, you need heavy duty shelving UK HSE recommends carrying out risk assessments for storage areas to ensure what you are using is correct. It sounds simple but a surprising number of organisations don’t risk assess properly first, to ensure they are using the correct equipment. If you obtain heavy duty shelving from a UK distributor they will almost certainly be able to assist you in procuring the right things.

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Trips and falls

Keep walkways clear and ensure that they are marked appropriately. Ensure that there are no stock items sticking out from the ends of the shelving by using the appropriate type of shelves, for example, use vertical storage racks for lengths of pipe and wood planking.

Overstretching

We’ve all done it, stretching or twisting to reach for something when we should just move the ladder. The answer is to store the heavier items lower down, preferably about waist height or ensure that you have suitable lifting equipment. Of course, training is important too and your employees need to know how to lift properly, and this training should be repeated at least annually.

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