Last Saturday involved one of those must-do-don’t-want-to trips to the local DIY store. In collecting my goods I was presented with the rarefied opportunity of actually driving into the warehouse. Driving my car into a warehouse I thought, mmm, this doesn’t sound right.
But it’ll be OK, this is no tin-pot warehouse or retailer – this company moves millions of dollars of goods each year and surely they would have thought about the possible safety issues of letting random members of the public drive their cars inside their warehouse, right?
Seeing the Hazards
It doesn’t take a particularly critical mind to get to a place where this situation appears absurd: letting the public (your customers) including kids into a warehouse environment where there are forklifts, heavy lifting and goods piled high is fool enough, but then letting them drive their cars in? In fact, my 3 year old daughter who was strapped in the back seat felt uncomfortable!
Guess what – one clip of my car against one racking upright and the lot could come down, taking with it anyone unfortunate to be close by – and on a busy saturday afternoon that’s potentially a bunch of people. That’s even before we start thinking about the fire risks, crashing into a forklift, hitting a pedestrian, and so on.
Tolerating the Risks
This is what a good hazard identification and risk assessment programme should deliver – using the right skills in the workplace to identify the hazards, understand the risks, and design and implement the right risk controls – balanced between Infrastructure, Systems and People – to reduce the risks to an acceptable level. Or eliminate them: like keeping customers and their cars out.
Getting Serious About Safety Management
Here is a link to a comprehensive document from the UK Health and Safety Executive on warehouse safety:Warehousing & Storage-A Guide to Health & Safety. HSG 76.