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Owners and operators of warehousing and storage facilities, are responsible for the health and safety of employees and others who may work in or visit the premises. They must consider the hazards which are present: The storage facilities, ladders, high level access, fork lift trucks, and the nature of the items stored (heavy, bulky etc.).

The Storage Facilities  

  • Are they appropriate for the items stored – do they need adapting?  
  • Are they in good condition, and fixed to the floor and/or wall?  
  • Are they routinely and formally inspected?  
  • Is there sufficient circulation space between them to enable safe working?  
  • Are they arranged so that heavy/bulky items are stored at low level?  
  • Are the storage boxes/crates in good condition?  
  • Are mezzanine floors, stairways and balconies properly guarded?



  • Can items be safely reached and removed by ladder?  
  • Are all the ladders in good condition? Dispose of any which are not.  
  • Are the ladders fit for the purpose? Long enough to prevent over-reaching? Securely fixed to the rack (if appropriate)?  
  • Have the staff received formal training in accessing stock?  
  • Is there a ladder register? Are the ladders clearly identifiable?  
  • Is the floor in good condition, providing a level, even surface?  
  • Are there clear signs prohibiting climbing on the racking?


Fork Lift Trucks  

  • Are all drivers certificated?  Have they had refresher training?
  • Do you have arrangements in place to prevent unauthorised use?
  • Are the trucks in good condition and routinely maintained?
  • If fuelled by LPG. do the LPG storage facilities comply with the specific regulations?
  • Is there sufficient room to safely manoeuvre the fork lift trucks within, and outside, the warehouse?
  • Are there clear, safe walkways marked on the warehouse floor and yard area?
  • Are there safe workable arrangements for operating the trucks, including reversing?
  • Can you close off the aisle in which the fork lift truck is operating?
  • Are goods properly stacked on the storage pallets?


Vehicle Movements

  • Do you have written procedures for safety in the loading bay?  
  • Do you have clear procedures for safe reversing? Do you use a banksman?  
  • Are the pedestrian walkways clearly designated and marked?  
  • Are the loading bay and yard areas well lit and laid out with safety in mind?  
  • Have drivers received instruction in operating within the yard? Is this documented?  
  • Are visiting/new drivers separately considered?  
  • Is the circulation area restricted by the storage of rubbish or redundant items?


Lighting, Heating and Ventilation  

  • Are all areas of the warehouse sufficiently well-lit to enable safe working?  
  • Is the building used for cold storage? If so, staff will only be safe if they are comfortable – provide protective clothing and regular breaks.  
  • Does the building get very hot? Ventilation may be required.  
  • If the building gets cold, heating may be required. In areas where staff habitually sit down, the temperature should be at least 16oC. Where work involves physical effort, it should normally be at least 13oC.


Further advice and guidance on warehousing can be found on the HSE Website

There may be other things to consider, for example if the product being stored is inherently hazardous, or fragile. You must therefore carry out Risk Assessments on the tasks to be done, in order that the appropriate control measures can be identified and implemented.  Further information on risk assessments for warehouses, including an example risk assessment can be found on the HSE Website

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