Storage areas and buildings should be
well lit, well ventilated, and designed and laid out to allow for
the safe movement of materials and people. Good design can
substantially reduce accidents. Particular consideration should be
given to aisles and gangways, pedestrian traffic routes, staircases
and ramps, emergency escape routes, and fire safety
The main causes of injury in storage
work are slips and trips, manual handling, work at height, vehicles
in and around the storage area, and moving or falling objects.
Slips and trips
Most slip and trip accidents can be
avoided by taking simple precautions. Floors should be level, with
any stairways, slopes or dangerous drops guarded by barriers. They
should be kept clean and dry and their slip resistance monitored.
Walkways should be free from obstructions with nothing left lying
around on the floor. Lighting must be suitable and sufficient. If a
spillage occurs, immediate steps should be taken to clear it up.
Waste such as packaging materials should be disposed of in an
organised way and not allowed to accumulate.
Lack of care when lifting or handling
heavy or bulky items can lead to lower back pain, neck pain and
more serious injuries. Wherever possible, find ways to avoid manual
handling or redesign tasks to use mechanical handling devices.
Provide training in safe manual handling techniques that is
specific to the tasks to be carried out.
Working at height
Any work at height, including
maintenance work carried out by a contractor, must be properly
planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe way.
Before use, inspect equipment to make sure that it is safe. Ladders
should only be used for low risk, short duration tasks. Never use
pallets on fork-lift trucks for accessing work at height or as
working platforms. Never climb onto racking unless it is
specifically designed for use as access equipment.
All vehicles in or around storage areas
must be carefully managed to reduce the risk of accidents. Plan
routes to avoid sharp turns, blind corners and steep slopes.
Minimise the need for reversing by taking steps such as
implementing a one-way system. Where reversing cannot be avoided,
ensure that vehicles and pedestrians are kept separate. Ensure that
vehicles of the sizes and types likely to use the route have enough
room to manoeuvre comfortably. Keep the road surface in good
condition and do not allow puddles or potholes to develop.
Moving and falling objects
If there are areas where there is a
risk of falling objects, make sure that they are clearly marked and
that unauthorised persons do not enter them. Common causes of
falling items include poorly loaded vehicles, and carelessly filled
or overfilled shelves. Mechanical handling equipment must be
properly maintained and suitable for the job for which it is used,
and operators must be properly trained.
Stacking bales requires skill. No-one
should attempt to do so without either training in safe bale
stacking techniques or adequate supervision. Dangers associated
with handling and stacking bales include people falling from bales
or from vehicles and machinery used in stacking them, bales falling
onto people, electrocution from work carried out on bales near to
overhead power lines, and damage caused by fire, vandals, vermin
and the weather. Health problems include manual handling injuries
such as pulled muscles and strains, and respiratory problems from
breathing in dust.
Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety
Safe working with bales in agriculture (HSE)