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14th September 2016

Safe Stacking of Goods

A company has been fined following the death of an employee on its premises. He was killed when boxes of frozen fish fell on him after safe stacking of goods best practices were not followed sufficiently.

Interfish Limited pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 following the death of an employee on its premises.

The worker died when boxes of frozen fish that hadn’t been stacked properly fell on top of him. The company was fined £500, 000 and ordered to pay costs of £24, 800.

In may 2014, there was a similar case regarding a worker being trapped under tonnes of cheese.  Although these two cases were reported by the media, they are not the only ones that have happened in warehouses recently. The HSE has indicated that because of the spate of accidents, warehouse safety will be high on the priority inspection list for foreseeable future.

You must formalise your arrangements to ensure the safety of those who work in or access your warehouse. This includes having procedures in place for emergency situations, such as falling stock. The best place to start is with a risk assessment. This should highlight the significant risks in the warehouse and the control measures that should be followed to reduce the risks to an acceptable level.

The HSE has produced extensive and detailed guidance on how it expects warehouses to be managed – the document Warehousing and Storage (HSG76).

Although you don’t have to follow the HSE’s guidance to the letter, you must ensure that your arrangements are at least as robust as those detailed. If they’re not, an inspector will deem what you have in place as insufficient.

The two most significant risks found in a warehouse are storage solutions and traffic management.

See tips below for the safe stacking of goods:

TIP 1 – clearly mark safe loading limits on your racking. Plus, ensure staff stack all items on the racking in a safe manner.

Tip 2 – Monitor fork lift truck operations closely. For example, impose strict speed limits, designate formal traffic routes and ensure that all operations are trained and authorised to use the vehicle. Make sure that they report any incidents, even minor ones, for example any collision with the racking.

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