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Managing Health and Safety in Warehouses

Managing Health and Safety in Warehouses

A fatal fall at a Singapore warehouse last month has highlighted just how important height safety can be, even in unexpected places.

The incident took place on 1 December, as two workers were packing goods at a warehouse in Singapore. One of the workers is thought to have fallen whilst carrying out their duties, and was discovered lying on the ground after the other worker heard a loud thud. Despite being rushed to the nearest hospital, the worker unfortunately later died from their injuries.

The Ministry of Manpower has already begun an investigation into the incident, to identify whether there were any lapses in health and safety management, and if it could have been avoided.

During the end of November and the beginning of December last year, there were five workplace fatalities in Singapore, bringing the total number of workplace fatalities in 2020 to two-thirds of the total for Singapore in 2019, when there were 39 deaths. However, this does not take into account the serious drop in activity due to COVID-19 restrictions, so this number has raised concerns.

The importance of safe work at height

When people think about work at height, they usually think about roof access work and other tasks such as window cleaning and gutter maintenance. As this unfortunate incident shows, ‘work at height’ is a wide term and covers all manners of tasks, including in areas where you might not expect there to be fall risks.

Carrying out comprehensive risk assessments and ensuring the correct equipment is provided to workers are the only sure-fire ways to minimise fall risks to workers. WSH managers and bosses are legally required to provide this equipment, and create a safe atmosphere for their employees to work in.

In a warehouse environment, several factors should be taken into account by those with a responsibility for safety, such as:

  • Regular risk assessments to identify potential dangers, as well as corrective measures needed
  • Providing safe access with the correct equipment, such as steps or personnel lifts
  • In-depth training for workers, ensuring they behave properly and avoid potentially hazardous methods of work such as climbing on pallets or lower shelves when accessing higher racks
  • Encouraging general good housekeeping to ensure goods are always stored for safe access and retrieval

 

The correct equipment

Warehouse work such as loading and unloading may not seem particularly hazardous, but as this incident shows, there is always a risk. One of the best ways to keep workers safe is by providing the correct equipment to carry out work on loading bays and storage racks safely.

There is a range of internal safety solutions ideal for use within warehouses, designed to maximise worker safety in multiple areas.

Safety gates and barriers for warehouses

These solutions include safety barriers to separate workers from passing vehicles and forklifts, and to protect leading edges on raised areas such as mezzanine floors. The unique design of our modular Kee Klamp barriers means sections can be easily swapped out if damaged during standard warehouse activity, and also combined with our self-closing safety gate and pallet gate products, making access for workers and products simple and safe.

 

Mobile access platforms

Often, working at height in unprotected areas in warehouses and loading bays is unavoidable, such as when vehicles or storage racks must be accessed, and common solutions such as standard steps or raised personnel vehicles can be restrictive and costly. Fortunately, bespoke mobile access platform systems are an ideal alternative.

At Kee Safety, we can design and supply bespoke mobile access platforms to your specifications, maximising safety for your workers. With the same modular design as our safety barriers, these access platforms can be custom built to suit almost any scenario, in almost any warehouse or logistics centre, allowing safe access up to 3m in height. Fully compliant to all relevant legislation, they are the perfect solution for safe access to raised areas in industrial environments.

This sad incident has highlighted just how important fall protection is, even in places where you might not expect falls to occur.

 

For more information about any of our solutions and products, designed to guarantee the safety of your workers, call Kee Safety Singapore on +65 6385 4166, or use our online contact form.