Addressing Warehouse and Transport Safety Concerns
The logistics industry can come with a host of safety risks if they fail to be addressed appropriately.
From warehouse injuries and faulty to equipment to driver fatigue and poorly maintained freight trucks, being able to assess and amend anything could be of a threat to safety is paramount. In today’s blog, we will be offering a simple outline to some chief risks that can exist within the road freight and logistics industry and what you can do to address such risks.
Many freight journeys start and end at a warehouses. Ultimately, they are where stock is commonly held and collected from. Furthermore, it’s also where machinery such as forklifts and pallet movers that, if not maintained or operated correctly, can present a danger to those operating and around them.
So, first of all, it’s important to ensure that all machinery within the warehouse is well maintained. Any machinery that is problematic or outright defective needs to be repaired or replaced ASAP. Under no circumstances should anyone operate such machinery.
Education is also important. Whether that includes the usual licence necessary for forklift operators or a walkthrough of how pallet movers work, you need to make certain that you have employees who are well-versed, knowledgeable and certified to handle any warehouse machinery.
Also set up risk management rules such as individuals staying clear of forklifts, especially in terms of not being underneath a forklift’s spikes – whether they’re empty or lifting something – at all times.
Beyond precautions and safety procedures applicable to machinery, your staff also need to be educated on manual handling. Severe back injuries can occur if an individual does not employ the proper lifting procedures, whether they’re lifting and moving the item to another area, or merely lifting it on the spot for a shortened period of time.
If something exceeds the recommended pick-up weight of one individual, they should get someone else to help them. As an employer, you should also make this an enforceable requirement. The more you lessen the risk, the safer your employees will be.
A warehouse can be very unpredictable and, from time to time, staff may accidentally drop an item or product and create a new hazard in the process – this could include a slipping hazard or cutting hazard such as broken glass. Staff should regularly examine aisles in a warehouse to note if anything has broken or is posing a danger. Additionally, if a staff member does break something, they should clean it up immediately. Also be on the lookout for items that could be situated precariously on the edge of shelves and move them back from the edge.
A common factor of warehouses that store food will be that of dry and cold storage areas. For those working in cold storage, it’s common practice to allow employees to take more frequent breaks than those working in dry storage. This is primarily to allow employees the chance to warm up and not succumb to excessive cold temperatures. These breaks should be short (between 5 to 15 minutes) but frequent enough to allow them to recover from the cold to a notable degree before returning to the cold storage.
Beyond the warehouse is, naturally, the transport of goods. From this point on the responsibility passes from warehouse stock pickers to that of freight drivers to get products to where they need to be. Safety for freight transport comes down to 2 key areas: vehicle maintenance and time.
Naturally, vehicle maintenance is important as it ensures your freight driver will not encounter and transport issues associated with the vehicle itself. This requires regular services to the vehicle, checks on not just the vehicle but the freight carriage to ensure everything is working (e.g. the carriage refrigeration is world correctly), and ensuring others aspects including the wheels and speed limiters are all in good condition.
Beyond the integrity of your freight vehicles is that of the well-being of your driver. To achieve this, it’s all about time management. You need to ensure you’re providing them with enough transit time so that he/she has plenty of time for breaks, rests and meals. It is both unfair and a breach of law to force any of your drivers into a situation where they do not have an acceptable amount of time allocated to complete a freight run.
Driver fatigue is a massive issue that must be appropriately catered to, as is speeding. Your driver needs enough time so that they can abide by speed limits and have plenty of healthy rest to keep them alert and responsive.
If there are any basic safety tips you feel we’ve missed, be sure to add them to the discussion by leaving a comment.