Risks, Hazards and the Workplace
In an industrial setting, in a warehouse or the logistics industry, hazards are very real and very present in the everyday running of a business. Workplaces consisting of heavy machinery operations and materials handling need to have proper procedures in place to protect workers. This is required under law, and should be regularly reviewed and updated to review hazards.
One of the biggest issues industrial workplaces face is pedestrian safety. Simply speaking, those on foot are the most at risk in areas where machinery is being used. The pedestrians can be both workers and members of the public. Either way, as a manager or business owner you need to make sure they are protected.
Protecting Pedestrians Around Machinery
In situations where vehicles or machines are in use, areas where those on foot should not be, need to be designated. It’s not enough to assume people will not stray near these hazards. Those in charge of an industrial workplace need to properly ensure a pedestrian walkway is made extremely obvious. Making it clear to pedestrians that they are to stay in a certain area due to the risk posed by machine operation.
The best thing for a workplace is to make areas where people are going to be walking very clear, separate and predictable. Drivers will then know which spaces to avoid and take extra care around. Walkers will know where they should be at all times. It’s just as important to show people where they are allowed to be, as it is to show them where they should not be.
So how do you do this?
How does a workplace make it obvious to workers and visitors where they should be on foot, and where they shouldn’t?
Improving Safety with Effective Signage
Signage is a great way to start. Signs that clearly indicate to people in concise language where they are restricted to for their own safety. These signs should be bold, bright and appropriately placed. Signs should be poised in positions where they are unable to be missed.
However, simply telling people is not enough. It’s an all too frequent occurrence for workers and pedestrians alike to ignore signs. People ignore signs when they do not understand the risk, when they rush and when they think that they know better, or they take workplace safety for granted. These are all perfect breeding-grounds for incidents to occur.
Signage cannot be your only way of protecting walkers in your warehouse. It’s essential to show people the designated area for walking in a workplace.
Designating Walkways in the Workplace
This is achieved through several means. The most effective being the implementation of bollards, railings or cones. These clearly indicate where the safe walking area is located. Safety systems providing a physical barrier between those on foot and those operating machinery are the most successful in preventing accidents.
Achieving Safety Through Barrier Systems
Educating Workers About Safety Systems
Even the most obvious and effective safety system in the world is not going to work if people do not use it. It’s essential that once a barrier system is installed in a workplace, workers are taught to understand how important it is for risk reduction.
It’s important for all that use the area to understand the potential consequences if people do not take the proper precautions available to them. Helping employees understand this can help to promote an environment of safety. This will ensure visitors and workers alike are encouraged to use the safe ways of navigating areas.
Which Safety System Should You Use?
Depending on your specific workplace, you will need to consider what the right barrier system is for your area. Some warehouses may not be required to install a full system, perhaps it is only necessary in certain areas where forklift operation or similar is a factor. In these cases, it is important to analyse where exactly pedestrians and workers may be at risk, and follow system installation accordingly.
In certain workplaces it may be crucial to install some very heavy duty bollards due to the nature of the work being undertaken. These situations will require more in depth analysis and observation of risks and hazards. Mounted bollards help you achieve workplace safety from vehicle operational hazards.
The Importance of Physical Barriers
There is really no substitute for physical barrier protection from heavy machinery hazards. Pedestrians need to be protected in areas of operational hazards. Those on foot are at the largest risk of injury or death from accidental incidents.
Every work site has different needs in terms of safety system. Some require more extensive equipment than others. Through thorough assessment of the risks posed to workers and visitors, you should be able to work out what you need to operate your area safely. If you are ever unsure about safety procedures, it is always a good idea to consult with a professional in the safety and logistics industry. This will ensure you equip your warehouse with the proper safety systems.
Types of Physical Barriers
There are a few different types of safety barrier equipment. Each of these have specific purposes, and are used for different reasons in the workplace. Some are solid and permanent, while some are flexible and temporary for portable purposes.
Here are the different types of barrier systems available on the market:
Versatile and Portable Solutions
Bollards - Suitable for protecting equipment, people, floors and tools. Bollards can be mounted and steel, or they can be used simply as visible guides.
Cones - While cones may not provide a physical barrier, they are highly visible. Cones can be used as guidelines for pedestrian walkways. They can also be placed to indicate risky areas and to cordon off hazards.
Blockades - Blockades are both portable and durable. They’re generally inexpensive, yet tough enough for most warehouse environments. These barriers are popular in roadworks, as they provide a highly visible form of protection.
Expandable Barriers - This equipment provides a mobile safety barrier for areas that periodically require access, and at times require to be restricted. Expandable barriers offer a visual and physical deterrent from specific areas at certain times.
Machine Guard Barriers - Machine guard barriers are generally very durable, able to protect certain areas from machinery. Many stockists (including Dexters) offer fully customisable guard barriers. These are suitable for thoroughly dictating where is, and where is not suitable for vehicle operation.
Pedestrian Specific Barriers - Pedestrian safety barriers provide strict walkway restrictions to keep pedestrians safe in workplaces. Pedestrian barriers keep those on foot away from those in machines, offering a very particular area for walkers.
Steel Barriers - Steel barriers are purposed for forklift and other machine protection. These barriers offer a tough, physical barrier in the workplace. They’re strong enough to stop machinery, ensuring safety beyond their parameters.
We Help Businesses Reduce Risk
The Dexters Method
Dexters can help you from the very beginning of your risk reduction journey. Our safety experts can consult with you and your workers needs. We will figure out a specialised safety system that protects and enforces your workers and visitors safety.
Complete Workplace Safety Services
These systems are not just restricted to warehouse safety either. Outdoor operations require similar, if not more protection due to the chances of civilians entering the area. Barrier systems can be essential safety additions to a large amount of areas. Many businesses can benefit to a great extent from the installation of proper safety systems. Workers, pedestrians, visitors and civilians alike will be safer with the implementation of quality barriers.
Protect Workers With Our Expert Advice and Quality Safety Systems
Nobody wants to chance the risk of a fatal incident occurring in an area they are charged with managing. Dexters can help you to find, install and implement the use of an effective barrier system in your workplace or warehouse