12 January 2022
The Health and Safety Inspectorate carried out a series of unannounced visits to warehouses/ bulk storage facilities in early December 2021 to check compliance with the relevant legal requirements. This targeted initiative was arranged after visits to a small number of warehouse facilities during October 2021 identified a general lack of effective identification, assessment and control of significant and foreseeable risks within this working environment.
The main causes of accidents in warehousing and storage facilities are:
- slips and trips
- manual handling
- work at height
- vehicles in and around the warehouse
- moving or falling objects
During the initiative a cross section of larger retail work premises were visited including garden centres, supermarkets and high street stores, recognising that these workplaces were likely to have increased stock levels leading up to the Christmas period.
FindingsWhilst all those visited were able to demonstrate systems were in place to manage the storage of stock the initiative identified a number of common issues requiring attention including:
- racking systems not being labelled with the safe working load and/or subject to an appropriate inspection and maintenance programme
- poorly designed storage systems, for example, heavier goods being stored at high level, over-stacking of boxed items and inadequate guarding of mezzanine levels leading to risks associated with stock placement and retrieval
- inappropriate storage arrangements for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and highly flammable liquids (HFLs)
- failure to properly assess and implement safe systems of work to store and retrieve stock. Where stepladders were provided for use there was no evidence, through risk assessment, to show that these were the most appropriate option rather than alternative, safer equipment
- inadequate management of forklift truck operations including keys being left in the ignition when not in use and a failure to issue a Certificate of competence for forklift operators, as required by the Cranes and Lifting Appliances (Jersey) Regulations 1978
Figure 1: Unstable and over stacked boxes
Figure 2: LPG storage – cage too small and unable to secure, no safety signage and poor housekeeping
Figure 3: Unsecured and poorly stacked palleted waste
Figure 4: Inadequate edge protection
In all cases, advice and guidance, either verbal or in writing, was provided to help ensure compliance with minimum legal requirements.
Warehousing and storage facilities in retail and other industry sectors is likely to be the focus of future initiatives undertaken by the Inspectorate so duty holders with such facilities must ensure they are familiar, and comply with, their legal requirements.
Further Information and guidance