Injuries and accidents are likely to take place in most places of work. However, they happen more regularly in warehouses.
Some injuries and accidents are more common than others. But with the correct health and safety procedures in place, many can be prevented. This article discusses the most common warehouse injuries and accidents, providing advice on preventing them along the way.
- Falls from height.
- Slips and trips.
- Forklift incidents.
- Handling heavy materials.
- Hit by a moving object.
- Inhaling toxic and harmful substances.
- Incidents involving fire.
- Loading dock injuries.
1. Falls from height.
There were 29 fatal injuries in 2021/2022 that occurred due to people falling from heights in the workplace. These injuries accounted for 24% of all worker deaths over the year.
Accidents like these usually happen in warehouses when employees try to retrieve an item located at a height. For example, 4% of falls from height accidents occur due to warehouse pallet racking. In today's world, these types of activities should not be taken on by a human.
Instead, solutions can support your employees when reaching items located at height. These include reach trucks, which you can read more about here.
2. Slips and trips.
Statistics show slipping and tripping as the most common causes of major injury in UK workplaces.
These types of injuries happen in warehouses due to wet and uneven surfaces. Other reasons include obstructions in aisles and unsuitable floor coverings.
There are several ways your business can prevent slips and trips from occurring in the workplace. Some of these include:
- Stop your warehouse floors from becoming contaminated.
- Regularly run checks in aisles to ensure there are no obstructions.
- Use the correct cleaning methods and make sure your warehouse is routinely cleaned.
- Provide your employees with the right PPE, including slip-resistant footwear.
3. Forklift incidents.
The material handling industry bears witness to over 1,300 forklift truck accidents each year. This equates to an average of five accidents every workday.
Forklift incidents occur due to different reasons. One of the most common causes of forklift accidents is the behaviour of the person operating the machinery.
With this in mind, your business must never overlook the importance of forklift operator training. Find out more about this type of training and how we can support you here.
4. Handling heavy materials.
Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries. Manual handling injuries include strains and sprains, back injuries and cuts, bruises and broken bones.
Although there might be occasions when your staff must handle heavy materials, you should avoid such tasks as much as possible.
A range of premium trucks can support your business with handling heavy materials, including:
- Hand pallet trucks.
- Powered stackers.
- Forklift trucks.
- Order pickers.
- Tow tractors.
5. Hit by a moving object.
Falling objects cause a third of these types of injuries, with the third highest cause being hit by trucks.
Research has found that every year, one in five workplace fatalities and over 1,500 injuries are caused by forklifts and other industrial vehicles.
These statistics further highlight the importance of regular forklift operator training for your employees.
Other ways to prevent these types of injuries and accidents include:
- Have a clean and organised warehouse.
- Operate well-maintained forklift trucks.
- Use signage such as speed limits in your warehouse.
- Regularly monitor your operations and make regular changes when necessary.
6. Inhaling toxic and harmful substances.
Harmful substances can be present in anything from paints and cleaners to dust, solder fumes or waste.
Although these types of injuries and illnesses are common, many are easily preventable. The HSE highlights some key steps to avoid harmful substance injuries. These include:
- Identify which harmful substances may be present in the workplace.
- Decide how workers might be exposed to them and be harmed.
- Look at measures to prevent this harm and decide whether you are doing enough.
- Provide information, instruction and training.
- Provide health surveillance.
7. Incidents involving fire.
On average, there are around 22,000 workplace fires each year in the United Kingdom and 423 every week.
To avoid these types of incidents happening in your workplace, you should understand the importance of fire safety and keep up to date with fire regulations.
You must also provide appropriate fire-fighting equipment in your workplace and work with a training provider who can offer fire safety training to your employees.
8. Loading dock injuries.
Loading and unloading areas of a warehouse can be dangerous. People can be seriously hurt due to handling heavy loads, moving vehicles and working at heights.
There is plenty of HSE guidance for ensuring safety when workers are loading and unloading. The guidance states that loading and unloading areas should be:
- Clear of other traffic, ensuring pedestrians and people are not involved in loading or unloading.
- Clear of overhead electric cables, so there is no chance of touching them or of electricity jumping to 'earth' through machinery, loads or people.
- All equipment should be parked on firm-level ground.
- Loads should be spread as evenly as possible during both loading and unloading. Uneven loads can make the vehicle or trailer unstable.
Although warehouse injuries and accidents are common, many of them are preventable. Implementing the necessary training is one of the most effective ways to prevent these injuries from happening. Find out more about the training we offer and the benefits it can bring to your business below.