Warehouses can be daunting places, not just for the people who work in them, but for visitors too. More so than offices, the hazards in a warehouse are varied, numerous and, in some cases, deadly. The health and safety of those working in a warehouse environment are crucial. A warehouse, even during its quietest periods, is still a lively place to be.
People moving around, forklift trucks driving in and out, scissor lifts and loaders are just some of the hazards you’ll face daily. This is before you even start to consider other possibilities like the problems slips, trips and falls, manual handling, working at height and the doors and shutters that secure the building itself can cause. You need to be aware at all times of what’s happening around you to ensure you stay safe.
How Warehouse Doors Keep You Safe
The entrances and exits of a warehouse invariably will involve roller shutter and steel security doors, not to mention fire doors. The sheer amount of products, both in terms of financial value and simple logistics mean these assets have to be protected, but these can cause hazards themselves if not treated with respect.
Roller shutters especially are one of the leading causes of death in a warehouse. They have been known to collapse onto people or their mechanisms can get caught around an item of clothing entangling the person with often fatal results. Many of them nowadays are powered, which means that they’re also classed as machinery, which brings extra safety concerns.
Warehouse doors and shutters, whether powered or not, fall under a multitude of regulations and legislation that you must adhere to. These include the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992, The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and specifically British Standard (BS) EN12635:2002 which covers the installation and use of Industrial, Commercial & Garage Doors & Gates. The RRO in particular covers all aspects of fire safety for commercial properties.
The Importance of Fire Doors
Warehouses and factories are going to be a high fire risk. Of course, the risk itself can be mitigated and varies depending on the type of processes carried out. When it comes to warehouses, the storage of items will mean a vast amount of cardboard and paper, often with limited supervision. A fire that starts in a warehouse can very quickly spread uncontrollably causing untold damage. This is why fire doors are so crucial to a fire safety plan.
Fire doors, and to lesser degree shutter doors, perform two main functions. They’re designed to stop or at least slow the spread of fire. This is why they need to be kept shut under normal circumstances.
Fire doors are also there to provide a means of escape if needed. They’re a legal requirement in almost all commercial buildings in the UK. It’s worth noting that there’s a difference between a fire door and a fire exit door. The latter are external doors and are not built to prevent fire, but to allow quick and easy escape from the building for workers and visitors. All the doors need to be marked, inspected regularly and provide the necessary protection. Legislation and specifications do change, so doors that may have been up to standard in the past may not be now.
Thank you for reading this month’s blog. To find out more about warehouse safety, get in touch with our team today. Give us a call on 01933 275 091 or please feel free to fill in the enquiry form on our contact page today.