HSE regulations on workplace traffic management are clear. So, why do accidents still happen? In this guide, we share tips on how to prioritise warehouse pedestrian safety measures that must be constantly reviewed.
The Green Cross Code Man, the King of the Road Hedgehog and Tufty the squirrel are among the historic campaigns to keep the public safe on UK roads. The techniques used to manage and prioritise warehouse pedestrian safety are far less colourful, but an urgent, everyday necessity.
In fact, it comes down to not only raising awareness among site personnel and visitors but also installing and regularly reviewing solid and dependable pedestrian safety products.
The problem comes if any of these traffic management systems have been overlooked or gone out of date. It puts the people moving around your premises at risk of injury, or even death.
It’s easy to think that with so many inexpensive Pedestrian Safety Products to choose from, this is not a pressing concern in modern warehouses. However, figures from the National Forklift Truck Safety Day suggest otherwise.
In the past three years, 65% of injuries caused by forklift trucks involved pedestrians, people not directly using that off-road vehicle. That includes accidents affecting co-workers, supervisors and warehouse delivery personnel.
To make sure you don't add to those statistics, what more can you do at your warehouse?
Legal obligations for warehouse pedestrian safety
The HSE takes warehouse pedestrian safety very seriously and provides clear guidelines for how to segregate moving vehicles and machinery from people walking around your site.
The location and design of these pedestrian safety measures must be based on a thorough risk assessment that is regularly updated.
The basic legal principles are that you must be able to show that traffic management systems enable pedestrians and vehicles to stay on clearly designated routes, with active separation measures, clear signage and distinct operational areas, paths and walkways.
Additional safety risks to focus on
Your legal and moral duties include giving special consideration to areas where any vehicles and pedestrians converge. Including around exit and entry points, such as warehouse loading bays.
Also, your risk assessment for warehouse pedestrian safety issues must regularly focus on things like:
• Locations with reduced visibility due to structural features.
• Times when there may be reduced visibility at key points within your premises.
• Areas where heavy loads (or possibly weather conditions) can impact braking ratios for HGVs.
• The potential for background noise to reduce pedestrian and driver awareness of risk.
• The need to create a safe distance between pedestrians and vehicles in compact or complex locations.
What installations make you compliant?
There are many simple but effective ways to manage and prioritise warehouse pedestrian safety that should be already in place. Such as clear road markings to segregate pedestrians and raised kerbs to prevent vehicle incursion in risk-sensitive places.
Personnel should be constantly reminded of their obligations to remain alert to traffic safety issues, with training, and regular information updates.
What else can you do to keep personnel and visitors safe in your warehouse, where off-road and HGV/LGV vehicles operate?
Suppliers of reliable and effective Pedestrian Safety Products can make sure that you have planned and executed tangible traffic safety measures, site-wide
Also, installing and updating Pedestrian Handrail Systems can manage your risks better. These are an ideal way to keep forklift trucks and pedestrians apart and provide the added bonus of managing trips, slips and falls.
Keep in mind that sourcing safety barriers and handrails made of quality materials is crucial. Their presence is a warning and guide, but the best pedestrian safety products also provide valuable impact absorption. Making injury less likely when collisions do occur.
Also, finding adaptations such as pedestrian sprung return gates and demountable shoe plates can ensure you have solid traffic management systems that are practical in their application.