Safety First

Mark Helding: Fighting fatigue

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 ( #694 )
Mark Helding
Mark Helding
Mark Helding has worked in the Supply Chain Sector for the past 25 years in a range of areas from road transport through to remote location logistics. He is the Managing Director of Independent Racking Inspections and Audits which focuses on independent and unbiased steel storage racking inspections to all market sectors, both in Australia and overseas.
A trend in workplaces globally is to be handling increased volumes of work with a reduced number of employees. This trend increases pressure and expectations on employees. Apart from effects on the wider community of higher unemployment rates, there can be increased risks to workplace health and safety. Increasing work volume for employees can lead to fatigue, distraction and stress, a dangerous combination in any work environment, particularly when operating machinery around warehouse racking. Imagine a common scenario: You are a warehouse forklift driver in a high-volume industry. Arriving at work early, action is already in full swing. The courier that didn't collect by 5pm last night is already waiting, and sales are pushing an urgent load to get onto a courier to the airport ASAP. The trucks are lining up, you're a person down sick and your workplace hasn't replaced the person who left last month. Morning break gets missed, lunch is late and forget about a break in the afternoon. Sales are on your back again, the afternoon rush of trucks is on and you've still got a huge list of pallets to move. You are stressed and fatigued; things are running behind.
Forklift accidents are a common cause of pallet racking damage.
Forklift accidents are a common cause of pallet racking damage.
You swing the wheel of the forklift. CRUNCH. You've taken down the upright of a pallet rack by turning in haste. It, and the whole next bay, collapses, narrowly missing the forklift and bringing down a load of stock. Trucks forgotten, nothing further leaves that day, or the next. It could have been worse. Forklift accidents are a common cause of pallet racking damage. Consequences range from racking damage and business delays to workplace death. Death or injury can result in charges being laid against the company, including possible charges of industrial manslaughter. Keep employees safe and refreshed and ensure that volumes are appropriate to employee ratios. Only then will your warehouse, and pallet racking, be a safe environment. Undertaking pallet racking training is also a great tool in providing a safe workplace.
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