Dangers of working at height in the racking installation industry
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states that “Any work at height…must be properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe way.” The ever-present risks of working at height can be substantially minimised with proper planning and execution of work at height tasks. Here are just some of the dangers that can be encountered when working at height in the racking installation industry, together with some simple steps to ensure warehouse storage installation is carried out safely.
- Using the wrong work-at-height equipment: Standing on pallets on forklift trucks to work at height may be a tempting “quick fix” but one which is highly likely to result in injury, often serious. Forklifts are commonplace in many environments where work at height is undertaken but should only be used for the purpose for which they were intended: to transport materials and stock, never personnel. Equally, installers should not be tempted to climb on racking units, unless the unit has been specifically designed for use as access equipment. Racking installers should choose a quality MEWP which is designed to enable quick and safe work at height from 6-60ft.
- Crushing and entrapment: Even with the correct work-at-height equipment in place, without proper care and attention, operators can be crushed or trapped against ceilings and high roof beams. It is vital to ensure that anyone operating a MEWP is wearing the appropriate safety workwear and has undertaken relevant IPAF training to ensure they are fully aware of the hazards that exist at height and possess the knowledge and skills to use their machinery safely.
- Falling objects: Racking installers often carry items in the MEWP basket which, if dropped from height, could cause serious injury to anyone below. In addition, heavier items such as beams and girders that are lifted to height by forklifts, ready for fitting, must be properly secured and handled. The area directly below where a racking installer is working should be cordoned off to reduce the risk of injury from falling objects.
- Inadequately trained racking installers: Installing, moving or dismantling warehouse storage should always be carried out by qualified SEIRS installers or SAICs using quality work-at-height mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). In his blog of 10 May 2015, then-President of SEMA, Matt Grierson, outlined how to choose the right racking installers, stating that “Finding a racking design and installation company that places health and safety at the heart of their business is no longer a lottery”. Grierson advised clients to use SEMA-approved installation companies (SAIC) or individual installers who are SEIRS trained and qualified.
How Horizon Platforms can help
To discuss the most suitable MEWP to install your racking system – from pallet racking to push-around racking – call the hire experts at Horizon Platforms today. Our hire professionals can also put you in touch with the IPAF-approved training team who can offer advice on the correct safety training course for your racking installers.