New research from Watco has revealed the risks around materials handling equipment (MHE). The industrial paint and repair product specialist’s latest research examined the challenges affecting facilities managers (FMs) in the warehouse and storage sector.

The data uncovered that almost half (43%) of FMs in the sector have had an accident or near-miss as a result of materials handling equipment in their business in the past year. Furthermore, faulty or damaged materials handling equipment was identified in the top five biggest risks to health and safety, alongside time constraints, having to meet changing standards and legislations, fire safety, and incorrect installations.

The risk of materials handling equipment was also highlighted in a report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with the main causes of accidents in warehousing and storage revealed to be working at height; vehicles in and around the warehouse; and moving or falling objects.

Scott Saunders, technical service manager at Watco, commented: “Materials handling equipment in warehousing and storage facilities is crucial to support efficiency and reduce the manual strain put on team members. Therefore, reducing the risk of pedestrians colliding with the equipment or objects being manoeuvred into the path of team members is critical for FMs in the sector. Implementing line marking and sign posting are great ways to mark out safe routes around facilities and highlight areas where MHE, or the objects it is handling, could pose a hazard.

“Line marking can be achieved using tape or paint. Watco’s Heavy Duty Line Marking Tape is an extremely durable solution which is easy to place and reconfigure for temporary layouts. Whereas a paint solution such as Watco Epoxy Gloss Coat is ideal for more permanent area marking and has a wide choice of colours which is useful for signposting dedicated areas for specific tasks, for example where MHE is in use.”

In addition to the dangers presented by MHE, the research identified further risks to health and safety revealing only 45% of employees are aware of potential hazards and know how to control or report risks. Despite a clear need to address this and reduce the risk of accidents, FMs revealed time constraints to be an ongoing battle.

Scott continued: “Our research reinforced our knowledge that FMs are time poor and struggling to navigate many high-level responsibilities. However, there are simple steps that can be taken to maximise resources available and bring unmanageable workloads back under control. Training wider facility team members to identify and report risks will help to divide the ownership and empower team members to take greater responsibility for their own safety. This will also give FMs more time to conduct or source training around the use and storage of MHE.”

For more information on the challenges facing the warehousing and storage sector and tips from the experts, download Watco’s free one-page report here:

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