Risk assessments are fundamental aspects of your health & safety policy. Effectively, they help you pinpoint any risks in your business and dictate which things you should worry about more than others. They’re a crucial part of every company, but even more so in companies that operate in high-risk areas. For example, businesses that operate in a warehouse.
Warehouses offer considerably more risks than an office or retail environment. This is mainly down to the sheer amount of equipment in use, as well as the manual nature of the work. So, how do you carry out a risk assessment for your warehouse? It’s much easier than you think – you can break it down into three main steps:
Step 1: Identify risks
Firstly, you have to walk around your warehouse and identify any risks. A few common examples include the equipment and machinery – like forklift trucks and lifting equipment – the layout, overcrowding, etc. Stairs are another good example, as are things like environmental temperature or electronics. Basically, it’s your job to go around and identify anything that could cause harm or create accidents in your warehouse.
Step 2: Rate the risks
Once you’ve identified the risks, you have to rate them based on how severe they are. Typically, you’ll use the low, medium and high system. It’s pretty self-explanatory: the things that don’t present big risks are rated low, slightly riskier ones are medium, and ones that are serious risks are high. For example, the temperature is low risk because it doesn’t really cause accidents, but it can cause some health issues. By contrast, heavy machinery is deemed high risk as there are so many ways improper use can cause harm to others.
You get the idea – identify your risks, then stratify them based on how severe they are. This will leave you with a form that shows you the main problems in your warehouse and which ones present the highest risks.
Step 3: Identify solutions
The last step is the hardest one – you have to pinpoint any solutions to help minimize risks. Let’s look at your equipment as the example; how can you minimize risks associated with a forklift truck? For one, ensure everyone that drives it is fully-qualified and has ongoing training. Secondly, service the truck periodically to be sure all the parts are working. It’s worth connecting to a company like Helmar that can supply replacement parts if needed. You could also have a rule where only a set number of trucks can be used at the same time. All of these things minimize risks and prevent accidents from happening. Now, you have to go through your list of risks and find solutions or suggestions for all of them. Of course, you will then implement these things to keep your business safe.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a risk assessment in your warehouse. To be honest, it’s critical in any business area, so keep that in mind. A surefire way to lose your company is to not carry out risk assessments, leading to health & safety failures and a forced closure!