7 Common Risks to Your Workforce

Regardless of where you work, whether it be in a warehouse or an office, there are always potential hazards that can lead to accidents. It is imperative that as a business owner and a business runner, you are aware of the dangers that hazards can pose and that you act upon them swiftly.

It doesn’t take much for an accident to occur – loose cables along the floor or a dodgy ceiling tile – there is the possibility of danger in the most secret of places. The health and safety of your workforce is paramount to the success of your company, so why would you allow them to work in potentially dangerous situations?

Below are 7 risks relevant to your workforce. Have a read and see if any apply to your business. We are working hard to ensure that any customer of ours has the safest working environments possible. From flexible safety barriers to racking protection and column protection – we have what you need to protect your business from hazardous damage!

Risk One – Forklifts

Due to the immense pressure that most forklift drivers are under to meet certain targets, it isn’t uncommon to hear forklift related accidents due to the shortcuts taken. These shortcuts include driving with more than the allowed weight in goods or speeding within the confinements of the warehouse. The consequences of these shortcuts can include hitting your racking, damaging a wall and any products, or even colliding with a fellow colleague.

It is imperative that you make sure the drivers are fully trained and qualified by law to drive your vehicle fleet and that they know what measures to take when in control of the vehicle. To give you further piece of mind, consider the FLEX IMPACT forklift barriers for further protection to your equipment. Our flexible impact safety barriers absorb the shock of any collision and disperse the energy amongst its own body, rather than having the vehicle and driver take most of the shock. What’s better is that the barrier will not lose its appearance or robustness, as the barrier will retain its original shape post collision.

Risk Two – Working at Height

With companies able to store more stock than ever before, rather than have a head-height level of racking stretching for hundreds and hundreds of meters, the stock instead goes above. Five, ten, even fifteen shelves high! Not to mention large factories such as Amazon, who hold millions of pounds worth of stock in their warehouses. Any worker who is doing their job at a certain height is at obvious risk of falling, so appropriate measures must be taken.

In the unfortunate case that something does happen, you want to make sure that no further damage is done. Products such as FLEX IMPACT racking protectors and universal fitting rack protectors means that no damage can come to the stock or the equipment by avoiding accidents, such as a rack collapse. Other products, such as the Single or Double Axes Gate and HD Mezza handrails, give workers at height that much-needed protection in case of any trips or slips.

Risk Three - Pedestrians

Bear with us on this one, it’s not as outrageous as it may sound! Pedestrians on the floor are actually a risk that any vehicle drivers have to take into consideration. However, pedestrians themselves have to think about the hazards around them, including the vehicles. That’s why our flexible safety barriers don’t just benefit the drivers, or your vehicles, it benefits your pedestrian workers as well. Should they be well informed, they know when they can clearly see a safety barrier nearby, they are in a zone where they should keep an eye out for any vehicles within that perimeter. Other basic measures such as bright lighting and hi-vis clothing is another huge step towards avoiding any accidents in the workplace.

Another handy product to consider is the XTRA GRIP stair-steps, which can be implemented on any staircase within your warehouse. This avoids any trips or falls when going up and downstairs, especially if your workers are carrying stock whilst walking up or downstairs. Little things like this may seem picky, but when it comes to worker safety, there is no such thing!

Risk Four – Poor Housekeeping

Again, this may seem picky but poor housekeeping is a significant cause towards pedestrian trips and slips and even a hazard for vehicle fleet drivers too. Floormarking alone doesn’t enforce a structure of where to place goods. Therefore, mistakes such as cluttering up fire exit doors and emergency exit routes poses a severe hazard towards everybody in the event of a fire. Another example of fire-safety abuse is stacking up stock too high so it intercepts the range of the emergency sprinklers. Fallbacks such as these can lead to detrimental circumstances in the worst possible scenario.

Housekeeping doesn’t just apply to emergency exits, though. Poor hygiene in places such as staff toilets and kitchens can pose a real problem, such as bacteria multiplication and even rodent infestation. It is just as important to have a clean warehouse as it is to have a safe warehouse. Nobody wants to work somewhere that's not only dangerous but unhygienic as well!

Rather than solely depend on the cleaning staff to maintain the hygiene level of your workplace, why not take on some of the responsibility yourself and try the ‘clean up as you go’ approach. We know that it isn’t the best job in the world, but it is essential for yourself and your fellow colleagues.

Risk Five - Noise

Let’s face it, it is impossible to work in an environment without any level of noise – unless you’re a librarian! Whether it be the repetitive typing of the keyboard or the constant reversing noise of your vehicle fleet, there is noise to be heard everywhere. However, if you’re working in an environment with a higher than tolerable decibel level, this could lead to significant damage to eardrums. Simple measures such as ear protectors can mean your workers can go home and be able to hear the radio on the journey home!

Noise can be construed to be a good thing, however. Hearing hazards around you is pivotal to help your workers avoid any accidents. For example, a forklift with a reversing signal will allow workers to be vigilant when walking around the warehouse. Either that, or give your workers a helping hand by installing a flexible safety barrier which can act as a signal all on its own. Areas clearly marked for vehicular movement means extra vigilance for pedestrian workers.

Risk Six – Electrical Cables

We’re not saying that every single electrical cable is a hazard, but extension cords are quite hazardous if not securely placed out the way of pedestrian workers and vehicles. This tends to be a problem during the winter period, where companies like to get into the festive mood with Christmas lights. As much as you like to bring some festive cheer to the workplace, you can do this in a safe and secure matter. Wayward cables and loose plugs are just a handful of hazards waiting to be tripped over or stood on. Ever stood on a piece of Lego? It’s déjà vu waiting to happen!

Where possible, keep electrical cables to the side and secured safely to avoid them getting in the way. If they do need to be on the floor, especially cables, ensure that they are taped properly to the floor and there is a clear warning about cables within the workplace.

Risk Seven – Lack of Health and Safety

We can go on forever about the potential hazards within your workplace but arguably the biggest hazard you can possess is a lack of health and safety altogether. If you don’t have a stringent health and safety policy with ease of access to information and resources such as first aid kits, you’re asking for trouble.

Every company in the UK should be visited by a HSE (Health and Safety Executive) to inspect the premises. They are there primarily to ensure that your business is operating within the safest possible means. Every company is different and therefore health and safety policies will differ, but there are some common rules that apply across the board. Make sure you’re within the law and you should be absolutely fine.

Don’t Take the Risk, Get in Touch!

After reading the top 7 risks to the safety of your workforce, has it opened your eyes to any possible hazard zones within your own business? If so, then we want to hear from you. Here at Boplan, we thrive in making every business a safe place to work in and be around. Conglomerates such as Coca-Cola have taken us up on our services and have not looked back since. You too can benefit from the safety products we provide and our excellent customer service.

Our wide variety of safety barriers ensure that your stock, your equipment and your workforce are all kept safe from tragedy. To get in contact with us to talk about the range of safety barriers you can take advantage of, simply call 01902 824 280. We are here to help make your business as safe as possible, so don’t delay – protect today!