Warehousing and Logistics:

Ensuring Workplace Health and Safety

manual handling

With the New Year sales well under way, the warehousing and logistics industries are experiencing a huge surge in activity and this increase is particularly demanding for those working in these sectors. With instore and online sales to manage, workloads are high and shifts are busy.

Daily activities and tasks involve a lot of manual handling such as lifting and moving heavy parcels, managing warehouse stock, using forklift trucks and loading and unloading HGVs. These daily tasks make workers particularly susceptible to back injuries, slips trips and falls and more major accidents such as broken bones.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stated that during 2017/18, there was an estimated 3,180 work related ill health cases per 100,000 workers in the transport and storage industries, with 21% of non-fatal injuries being caused by handling, lifting and carrying. It’s important that all staff are made aware of the risks during a normal working day and that precautions are taken to ensure that the working environment is safe and secure and that there are enough first aiders on every shift.  

Logistics, Haulage and Distribution

HSE research has found that the most common injuries in the logistics, haulage and distribution industries are caused by:

  • lorries in the workplace
  • falls from vehicles 
  • poor load security.

In some situations, accidents caused by the above may occur in death but may also result in broken bones and heavy bleeds, both of which can be attended to by a trained workplace first aider. A Red Cross Training first aid course teaches people how to deal with an accident in the workplace and also teaches them the necessary first aid steps that they must take, to ensure their colleague is cared for in an emergency situation.   

Warehousing and Storage

In 2017/18, HSE reported that there were 469,000 workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders. More specifically, per 100,000 workers in the transportation and storage industries, around 1,600 suffer with musculoskeletal disorders with 42% of these affecting the upper limbs or neck and 40% affecting the back

Some of the most common injuries in the warehousing and storage sector relate to:

  • slips, trips and falls
  • manual handling tasks
  • working at height
  • vehicles in and around the warehouse 
  • moving or falling objects. 

While accidents do happen, the risk of injury can be significantly lowered by ensuring that there are sufficient manual handling procedures in place and that staff are made aware of the proper techniques. Learning manual handling techniques will ensure that workers are well equipped with the knowledge they need to carry out their work safely. 

A moving and handling training course with Red Cross Training will teach staff about their own anatomy and the importance of learning how to work in a way which does not harm the body. It will also teach staff how to conduct their own risk assessments within the workplace, so they’re able to judge and act effectively and minimise risk to themselves and others.  

Icy conditions and winter weather

Slips, trips and falls are still one of the most common workplace accidents and they can increase even more during the autumn and winter months. HSE reported that during 2017/18, 31% of non-fatal injuries to employees were caused by slips, trips or falls on the same level. With less daylight hours, wet leaves building up on paths and ice and snow causing walkways to become slippery and dangerous, the winter weather adds another element of risk to an already hazardous working environment.

Preventative measures to deal with the lack of light, wet and decaying leaves, rain water, ice, frost and snow should be put in place to lower the levels of risk in the workplace. These can include ensuring the necessary areas are well lit, implementing a daily leaf removal schedule, fitting slip resistant material to walkways and stairs, fitting canopies, gritting, covering walkways and place out warning cones. Learn how to minimise the increased risk of winter workplace accidents with our useful, basic first aid guide.

It’s easy to overlook health and safety procedures during peak trade times of the year, but it’s during these busy periods that health and safety is of paramount importance and can help to reduce work-related injuries and cases of occupational ill health. Ensuring staff safety by following simple advice and training staff in first aid, can help avoid more serious problems later down the line.