With common workplace hazards, it’s important to know that warehouse and industrial work environments are as relevant now as ever. This reality comes as a result of the steady growth in the transport & logistics sector employment since statistics were first tracked by the UK Government in 1997.
Working from home?
In other types of workplace, the trend of working from home is a viable alternative to the office. As we’ve seen recently, this is especially so in times of pandemic and multiple everyday life responsibilities the office can distract from.
Yet veterans of transportation and logistics shouldn’t believe the hype about working from home anytime soon. Indeed, other industries have embraced working from home. However, in transport and logistics, the loaded cage that needed to be in the truck five minutes ago isn’t going to be in your laptop or the laundry basket on the upstairs landing.
The fact remains that “on-site, on-time” is still the name of the game. Thus, warehousing environment work is as relevant as it ever has been. Consequently, there are still many common workplace hazards that managers, human resources personnel and assistants on the shop floor need to account for.
Common workplace hazards and ramping up safety
But will companies respond to the new economic times in a safe and compliant manner? With COVID-19 pandemic adding new biological hazards to the usual slips, trips and falls, unsafe working conditions are as risky as ever. If an accident does occur, The Compensation Experts team is there for you.
We help and advise on a variety of compensation claims that we talk about in the article below, such as:
Before it gets to that stage, it’s important to know what you can do about common workplace hazards on your site. Below, we share four risk assessment boxes you can tick to reduce workplace risk, increase health and safety and prevent unnecessary injuries. We’ll also link to some helpful worldwide resources you can learn more about them in.
1. Physical Hazards and Housekeeping
It’s imperative to treat any busy, highly-trafficked industrial floor with regard for safety. With forklifts and other moving equipment on the go, blocked entrances and pathways create logjams, slow productivity and twist ankles.
PLAN OF ATTACK
- Overloading the top of your cages/containers creates unnecessary risks. Such oversights can set off sprinklers or restrict access through low-hanging doorways.
- Cords and wires require frequent review and risk assessment.
- Loose cords can slow down your environment.
- Replace frayed cords, which can create an unnecessary health and safety nightmare.
- If possible, commit to reducing the number of confined spaces you need to operate in.
- Ensure you have a record of safety equipment’s expiration dates, and carry out regular reviews.
2. Harassment, Bullying and Psychosocial Hazards
You can easily forget this is a hazard, but linking mental well-being and physical well-being is an important piece of assessing hazardous workplace conditions.
We’ve become alert to the effects of harassment, sexual misconduct and bullying in the workplace. In short, we’re asking our workers on the warehouse floor to up their game. Some reliable resources even interlink chemical hazards (such as airborne viruses) with psychosocial workplace damages. So the big takeaway is that if an action can alter an employee’s mental well-being, that action needs to be addressed as a damaging hazard.
PLAN OF ATTACK
- Above all, treat psychosocial and on-site mental hazards like physical hazards. Both can lead to punitive and reputational damage to your worksite.
- Ensure there is buy-in to handling psychosocial hazards from the top of the workplace organisation down. As a result, on-site buy-in from teams will be more likely to fall in line.
- Develop thorough, comprehensive policies to deal with each kind of psychosocial hazard.
- Make certain the process to report a violation and maintain compliance does not create new levels of workplace hostility.
- Take precautions that ensure unreasonable workloads aren’t being assigned.
3. Ergonomics Hazards and Falls From Height
Above all, this is a widely encompassing safety hazard. Moreover, it’s a highly relevant one in the UK. Between 2018 and 2019, the HSE reported some harrowing figures regarding ergonomic hazards, including:
- In 2017/18, over 110,000 non-fatal workplace injuries were due to handling, lifting or carrying heavy objects.
- Falling from height caused 40 deaths.
- Moving vehicles such as forklifts caused 30 fatalities.
- Contact with Dangerous Machinery resulted in 14 deaths.
PLAN OF ATTACK
- To educate your workers of safer working practices, aim to keep it simple. Inform your workers, but don’t overload them with information.
- Find safer, perhaps even more practical, scenarios that remove unnecessary work at height scenarios (such as poles for window washing).
- Workers should have a say in addressing manual handling practices that:
- Reduce strain;
- Increase regard for safety, and;
- Minimise burdensome workloads.
4. Chemical Hazards
We mentioned airborne viruses earlier as a type of chemical hazard. For example, some symptoms chemical hazards present include skin irritation, occupational asthma, dizziness, and headaches. but that’s just the beginning: Chemical hazards are defined as any “hazardous substance that can cause harm to your employees.”
Therefore, you should err on the side of caution by having as few chemicals on-site as possible.
Too often, the risk of chemical hazards increases simply because they go for a long stretch of time without being used. Thus, an atmosphere of ignorance and underappreciation sets in, even leading to the refusal to order up-to-date replacement chemicals. And as you’d expect, the level of danger to your workplace rises.
PLAN OF ATTACK
- Strive to have as few chemicals on-site as possible – it makes life safer, reduces removal expense, and minimises the risk of breaking the law.
- Create and maintain a thorough inventory of the on-site chemicals needed for your warehouse, especially regarding expiration dates.
- Along similar lines, ensure you order only what you need. Chemicals that fall out of date aren’t easy to get rid of, and an overabundance of them can lead to fines and penalties.
About the Compensation Experts and Common Workplace Hazards
This post is part of our ongoing series covering the issues to understand a workplace injury or work-induced psychiatric illness. Our goal is to keep you informed on the latest issues and risks involved with workplace injury claims.
Be sure to read more about this topic, including:
- Work Stress Claim: The Five Types.
- Six Workplace Stress Claims Behaviours to Watch For.
- Why Workplace Health Matters in a Personal Injury.