According to data provided via the Acorn Warehouse Solutions Ltd website the rate of non-fatal injuries incurred by staff working within warehouses is significantly higher than even those who work in the construction industry.
This surprising fact highlights and emphasises the importance of planning safety into any warehouse project, not least because safety is paramount to the smooth running and success of any warehouse project – and business.
Hence, here is a quick look at how to plan safety into your project and specifically the three areas which often cause the most difficulty in terms of safety.
Issues to Watch Out for When Making Floor Plans
One area that business owners regularly overlook or fail to plan properly for when deciding on a floor plan for their warehouse is the specific forklifts they are going to be using within the space.
To make it clear, it is not ever enough when designing a warehouse floor plan to simply create gangways for use by machinery such as forklifts. Different forklifts and equipment will require differing amounts of space and manoeuvring room.
Even proving the training legally required by UK law (which you can learn more about here via the Gov.UK website) for your staff is not going to prove much good if the space in which they have to operate a forklift does not permit them to do so safely. Further, expecting staff to manage an item such as a forklift in insufficient space could create a potentially life threatening situation as well as damage your stock and equipment.
Then, do not simply factor into floor plans the shelving and ideal layout you want; consider the specific machinery and transport which will need to access and move safely about your warehouse.
Important Aspects of Fire Safety
Preventing a fire within a warehouse does not begin once a warehouse is fitted out and ready for use. Ahead of filling a warehouse with staff, equipment and stock or even racking, it is of paramount importance to address several areas of fire safety.
The areas you will want to address head on include looking closely at the sprinkler systems being used within the warehouse, including their number and placement and as well the placement and number of fire alarms also in use or needed to be put into use. For more information on what (when looking at warehouse sprinkler systems and alarms) to look for and issues to identify and address, head over to the Fire Safety Advice Centre Organisation website.
Meanwhile, you will also need to identify and ensure the warehouse you are planning to make use of and floor plan you decide upon meet UK regulations and pass UK fire safety risk assessments; if your intended plans do not provide adequate access, for example, to fire exits you will need to address this ahead of moving ahead of the planning stage.
To read the UK Government guidelines and regulations as to fire safety and what a fire safety risk assessment involves (and so how to pass one), you can do so by accessing the Official UK Government PDF Document: Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Factories and Warehouses featured on the Gov.UK website.
Correctly and Safely Erecting and Using Warehouse Racking
Industrial warehouse racking is specially designed to bear great weight. For this reason it is desperately important to ensure that during a warehouse re-fit or project all racking erected for use within said warehouse is properly and safely constructed.
The consequences of failing to properly and expertly construct racking can include causing heavy falling objects, shelf collapses and worse; as well as potentially damaging stock, equipment and machinery a falling object can injure and even kill a person.
Then, whilst you can refer to online guides and safety checklists such as the one provided via the Sec website, the only means of ensuring your racking is correctly and adequately erected (provided you are not an expert) is to instead call upon the services of an expert warehouse Fit-Out Organisation.