Keeping Temporary Warehouse Staff Safe

Sorry folks I'm going to say it - it's less than six months until Christmas and even less until Black Friday! If you're in retail logistics you're probably already thinking about how to manage all the extra capacity needed for the Christmas period. If part of your plan is to bring in temporary staff to cope with the extra work there's a few safety factors to consider. A warehouse can be a potentially hazardous place, especially if you are unfamiliar with your equipment and surroundings. Make sure you've given the following areas some thought so everybody can look forward to a Happy Christmas!

Easy to Follow Safety Guidance

Seasonal workers may not use English as their first language so consider making your safety guidance available in other languages and using 'picture'-based instructions more than words.

HSE HSG76 Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety

Agency workers 

Where agency workers are used, you should consider them within your risk assessments. Take into account their lack of experience and familiarity with the work.

The warehousing industry employs many workers who do not have English as their first language. You should ensure that there are suitable methods in place to clearly communicate training and instructions to these groups. 

Validate Certificates and Experience

Check the validity of training certification and the operational capability of temporary staff before they begin to use any type of forklift truck. When workers have been trained overseas, foreign certificates and licences may offer no certainty of training provision or capabilities – so proper assessment is a must.

Don’t Limit Training to Drivers/Operators

Don’t limit safety training to the drivers. It is not only fork lift and other manual handling equipment operators that need adequate training but managers, supervisors and colleagues on foot. Safety awareness is essential for everyone – two thirds of workplace transport accident victims are pedestrians.

Build in Training Wriggle Room

In the run-up to Christmas, factor in enough training and briefing time into the hiring cycle.

Don’t Cut Corners

Don’t let pre-shift handovers and safety checks fall by the wayside. During the Christmas period there will be long days for everyone and a lot of pressure to get deliveries out on time. It’s tempting to cut corners but the huge increase in warehouse traffic and temporary staff make these failsafes more important than ever.

Tracking the Racking

Keep an eye on your racking. Tight deadlines and temporary staff will increase the number of minor racking scrapes and bumps so keep an eye out for any structural weaknesses.

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