WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru

WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY

Risk Management and PPE for the Logistics Industry

Thanks to the logistics industry, we live in a global world that is more interconnected than ever and distances are becoming shorter and shorter. The industry is constantly growing and advancing technologically.

Logistics is split into two main areas – transport or distribution and warehousing or storage. Working in the logistics industry involves activities like handling stock and materials, picking, packaging and palletising, loading and unloading, transporting goods, supply chain management and distribution.

Risks in the logistics industry

Did you know that one of the most common health problems in the logistics industry is musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)?

MSDs and overexertion injuries are mainly be caused by manual handling like lifting, pulling, lowering heavy goods, repetitive movements or the use of forklift trucks.

The risks in the industry depend on the specific environment and type of goods stored. The most common type of non-fatal accidents are caused by lifting/ carrying, sharp materials and tools, falling loads or being hit by an object, getting caught in machinery or between objects, collisions or being crushed by forklifts and other vehicles, slips, trips and falls at the same level or falls from a height, among others!

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Ergonomic risks

As mentioned above, the most common health risk is MSDs, which typically occurs in the back, elbows, forearms, shoulders and shoulder blades.

In addition, workers in logistics centres and warehouses may also be exposed to risks from extreme temperatures, either hot or cold, as well as exposure to high decibel noise.

In most cases, these risks result in minor injuries. Serious accidents are less frequent and are usually related to heavy machinery or loading docks.

Hazards due to chemical agents or harmful substances

Contact with chemical agents and harmful substances can be dangerous to health, this could be through direct contact from splashes such as from corrosive liquids or by inhalation of dust or particles.

Damage can occur both externally (any superficial area of the skin or eyes) and internally (respiratory tract), among others.

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Physical risks

The most common injuries are strikes against something fixed or stationary, being struck by a vehicle or moving or falling object, cuts, fractures and sprains or being crushed or trapped by equipment or vehicles.

Falls at the same level or from a height caused by slips and trips or a lack of visibility from loading docks, vehicles, ladders or platforms should also be mentioned.

There are other types of occupational health and safety risks that can lead to much more serious personal injuries, fatalities and structural damage, fortunately these types of serious accidents are not as frequent.

Working with machinery and moving vehicles such as forklifts, overhead cranes, hoists and other heavy tools can lead to risks such as being pinned between forklifts, loading docks and vehicles, being hit by them, run over or crushed if they overturn. Hazards related to electricity can also have a significant effect on health.

Common PPE in the warehouse and logistics sector

WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru
WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru
WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru
WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru
WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru
WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru
WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru
WAREHOUSE HEALTH AND SAFETY | Safeguru

(Some warehousing and logistic environments may require additional types of PPE and safety equipment)

Safety helmets

Mainly protects against falling objects or impacts from being hit on the head.

There are different types of helmets depending on the level of protection required. Choosing adequate protection will depend on the environment and the tasks carried out by the worker. The most common are:

  • Industrial safety helmets (EN 397). They comply with the mandatory minimum protection. Depending on the model, they protect against falling objects, cranial injuries and skull fractures.

  • Safety or bump caps (EN 812). Designed to protect against impacts from hard, stationary objects that may cause lacerations or other superficial injuries. (They do not protect against falling or projected objects, or moving or suspended loads).

  • High performance helmets (EN 14052). They provide more protection than industrial safety helmets and are tested more exhaustively. They offer greater performance in terms of cranial protection and reduce brain, cervical spine or neck injuries to a greater extent.

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Work gloves

Working in the logistics industry involves an extensive amount of manual activities like picking, packaging, loading and unloading goods.

Protective gloves are worn by workers in the logistics industry to protect their hands from cuts, blisters and getting trapped, among many other potential injuries.

The main types of safety gloves used are:

  • Mechanical protection gloves (EN 388) - Protects against cuts, abrasions, scratches, punctures or shocks.

  • Thermal protection gloves (EN 511) - Protects against the cold, either during outdoor work or for handling refrigerated or frozen goods.

When it comes to work gloves, protection is not the only aspect to take into consideration, they must also be breathable, fit correctly and have a good grip to ensure comfort and reduce hand fatigue.

They also need to have excellent dexterity.

Some gloves are touch screen compatible which is perfect for warehouse operatives who use tablets and electronic touch screen devices.

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Safety footwear

In a logistics and warehousing environment, footwear with a protective toecap is essential. The feet are at high risk of injury from falling objects or being run over by moving vehicles, etc.

There are two types of footwear for professional use with protective toecaps:

  • Protective footwear (EN 20346), offers protection against impacts with an energy level of 100 J (Joules).
  • Safety footwear (EN 20345), offers higher protection, compression damage, protects up to 200 J and has a reinforced sole to protect against punctures.
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They should also be slip-resistant (SRA, SRB or SRC) to prevent slips, trips and falls. In addition to the above, antistatic or ESD safety shoes are always recommended to prevent sparks and explosions.

Whenever there is a risk of electrical contact, electrical insulating footwear is necessary to protect the user from potential shocks.

Workwear and high visibility clothing

The main purpose of high visibility clothing is to avoid potential accidents, they are especially important in areas where vehicles are circulating.

High visibility reflective clothing should always be worn over work clothing to be seen. Workwear should be close-fitting and not too loose or baggy, this minimises the risk of snagging or getting caught.

It should obviously be comfortable, breathable, not restrict movement and be hard-wearing and durable.

There are many types of reflective clothing:

  • Reflective vests, hi-vis t-shirts and shorts which are perfect for summer.
  • Hi-vis jackets, coats and trousers which are essential for winter or low-temperature environments like cold stores.
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Signage and industrial safety solutions

PPE is the last barrier of defence to protect workers when risks cannot be completely eliminated, however, using PPE is not the only way to ensure health and safety in the workplace.

Workplace safety equipment offers collective protection, mitigates risks and creates a safe working environment. They are designed to protect workers, goods, vehicles and structures.

In additional to personal protection and using isoluation measures like safety equipment, work areas must always be kept clean, in good condition, free of obstacles and they should be adequately lit. Traffic routes must be clearly visible and well signposted.

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Retractable barriers and temporary signage

These are used to mark hazards or dangerous work areas, they can be a permanent or temporary solution. In the logistics industry, it’s very important to mark pedestrian walkways, crossings, storage, loading and unloading areas, etc.

Typically used near machinery, moving vehicles or in dangerous zones where there is a risk of entrapment, impacts or even being run over.

Industrial protection

In addition to protecting workers, industrial safety solutions are important to maintaining facilities, structures and assets by reducing damage to floors, columns, corners, racking, and so on, in the event of an accident.

A-SAFE offers an excellent variety of innovative, high quality and rigorously tested workplace safety solutions to provide protection for all types of industries.

Check out our guide on A-SAFE products to learn all about their development and how they work: A-SAFE - Innovative accident protection for people, machinery and structures

All A-SAFE products are designed to absorb impact energy without causing damage:

  • iFlex Bollards
  • Rack Protection (RackGuard)
  • Column Protection/Corner Guards
  • Low clearance Alarm Bar
  • Loading bay dock bumpers

And much more!

Surface protection

Surface protectors and warning profiles are ideal for protecting both workers and assets whenever there is a risk of surface, wall, corner or edge damage that does not require a higher level of protection.

Many surface protectors are made of polyurethane (PU) foam and are essential for marking protrusions, changes in height, suspended machinery, etc.

They are perfect for use in warehouses and distribution centres on shelf edges, doors, walls, parking columns, machinery corners or control panels, among many other applications.

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Line and floor marking

Adhesive tapes are the best alternative to paint in terms of installation time, mess, cost and versatility.

In the logistics industry, marking traffic lanes and work areas is essential for an organised and safe environment. It has a huge impact on reducing accidents and optimising workflow.

According to The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, employers are required to ensure safety signs are used and maintained in circumstances where there is a risk to health and safety that cannot be eliminated or controlled by other methods.

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  • Red - Prohibition or danger. Alarms, evacuate, dangerous behaviour, stop, shutdown, emergency cut-out devices and quarantine areas for defective goods.
  • Yellow - Warning. Be careful, take precautions and examine. Typically used for traffic routes.
  • Blue - Mandatory. Specific behaviour or action must be performed, especially for the use of PPE.
  • Green - Emergency escape, first-aid (no danger). Used at exits or emergency doors, corridors and first-aid stations.

In addition, where there is a risk of collisions, raised platforms, obstacles or falling objects, striped markings should be used, either yellow and black or red and white, as they are easily spotted. A continuous solid white line can also be used for marking traffic routes (taking into account the colour of the ground).

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Additional PPE in the logistics and warehousing industry

Eye Protection

Although it may not seem like it, eye protection (EN 166) is highly recommended due to the presence of dust, ultraviolet radiation and whenever there are risks from chemicals and aerosols.

There are various types of face and eye protection: safety glasses, protective goggles, over-glasses, face shields or safety helmets with visors for combined head and eye protection.

Hearing Protection

In the logistics industry, vehicle traffic, loading and unloading and operating machinery can cause excessive noise exposure. Continuous exposure to 85 dB for 8 hours can cause irreversible hearing damage.

Hearing protection is essential in environments with harmful noise levels, ear plugs (EN 352-2) and ear defenders (EN 352-1) are the most common.

The appropriate noise attenuation should be chosen to protect the user and at the same time, allow for communication between workers, the user must be able to hear warning sounds and alarms.

Respiratory Protection

Necessary for anyone working in environments with dust, aerosols, smoke, fumes, vapours, gases or paints. Ranging from disposable mask options to reusable respirator masks with high protection filtration.

Do you need help choosing the right type of personal protective equipment?

Call 01422 774376 from 9:00 to 17:30 or send an email to customer@safeguru.co.uk.

A member of our team will get back to you shortly.

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