Health & Safety in Warehouse’s/Distribution Centres

Do you work in a warehouse or distribution centre?  Does it have the following Health and Safety procedures and control measures in place?

The aim of my list is to inform you of the basic Health and Safety procedures that should be established in your warehouse or distribution centre. Additionally I have also shown the relevant legislation, Approved Code of Practice or guidance at the end of each item in bold italics.

  1. A Health and Safety Policy. Your organisation must have a Health and Safety Policy and it must be written down, if there are more than five employees, is it on display? The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 2 (3) and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Regulation 5.
  2.  Health & Safety Law Poster. Is there a Health and Safety Law Poster on display? Is it is the old 1999 version? If so have the contacts been kept up to date? This poster is only valid until 5th April 2014 when the later 2009 version will have to be displayed.  Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations.

  3. Employers Liability Insurance Certificate. Do you have a valid up to date Employers Liability Insurance Certificate on display? Your employer must have this insurance and display the insurance certificate to comply with the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. Additionally if your employer comes into contact with the general public they will also be required to have Public Liability Insurance.

  4. Risk Assessments.  Have all your work tasks, work equipment and any working issues been Risk Assessed? The Assessments must look for hazards, decide who might be harmed and how. Evaluate the risks and decide whether existing precautions are adequate or more should be done. The findings must be recorded, reviewed and revise if necessary. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Regulation 3.

  5.  Safe Systems of Work. Have you been shown and trained in the resulting Safe Systems of Work, compiled from the Risk Assessments mentioned above?  They instruct you in the safe and correct way to carry out your work.  They must be followed so that you work in a safest way. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 2 (a) to (e).

  6. Skills Matrix and Training Records.  Does your Supervisor/Team Leader/Front Line Manager check that you are trained before you are placed onto any work task?  Is there a training matrix which they have quick and easy access?  Can you also refer to the same matrix to check your own training record?  Is the training matrix backed up by folders containing each individuals training record? The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 2 (a) to (e) & Section 2(3).

  7. Manual Handling Risk Assessments and Manual Handling Training. Have Manual Handling Risk Assessments been carried out on all tasks that require you to lift and carry or push and pull?  Have you received Manual Handling training informing you of the best way to carry out these manual tasks?  Do you receive regular Manual Handling Refresher training?  Manual Handling Operations Regulations (as amended) 1992.

  8. DSE Assessments. Do all the staff working at computer workstations, as the main part of their job, receive annual DSE Assessments? Are the Assessments recorded? Are corrective actions carried out?  Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.

  9. Fire Risk Assessment and Evacuation Procedure.  Has a Fire Risk Assessment been carried on your premises? Is there an evacuation procedure? Have you had a fire evacuation during the last 6 months? Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

  10. Accident Book, Accident Investigations and the reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences.  Is there an accident book in which all accidents on site are recorded? Are all accidents investigated and their findings implemented and signed off to prevent the accident happening again?   Are reportable accidents recorded through the RIDDOR system? Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

  11.  Do you have First Aid and Welfare facilities?  Are your First aiders trained by the recognised agencies such as the Red Cross or St John Ambulance? Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. Examples of welfare facilities are having a First Aid room, the right number of toilets for the number of staff and drinking water. Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

  12. COSHH Registers Are all chemicals recorded and kept in COSHH cupboards. Including items like photocopier and printer ink/cartridges. Are data sheets available and the necessary COSHH Risk Assessments carried out? Is there a coshh register kept close to the first aid room? So if anyone is affected by a chemical the first aider can quickly access the data sheet to know how to treat the casualty until profession help arrives. Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

  13. Appointment of a Competent Person to give advice on all Health and Safety matters. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. (Regulation 7)

  14. Monthly Health & Safety Committee Meetings, allowing employee consultation.  This should enable you, the employee, to raise any Health and Safety concerns with your trade union safety representative or if working in a non-unionised organisation, your Health and Safety Committee member.  a) The Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 section 2 (4) Legislates to allow a recognised trade union to appoint safety representatives from amongst the employees in all cases where one or more employees are employed and where the employer has been notified in writing”. Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977.  B) If a trade union is not recognised, “an employer should consult employees direct or elect representatives of employees groups”. Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996.

  15. Training of MHE Operators. Has your organisations Forklift Trainer been trained by one of the following HSE recognised organisations? a) Association of Industrial Truck Trainers (AITT), b)Construction Industry Training Board (now called Construction skills), c) Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (ITSSAR), d) Lantra , e) National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS) and f) RTITB.

  16. Checks to Storage Racking.  Are the following types of checks carried out on your storage racking? a)immediate reporting of damage and defects, b) Visual inspections at regular intervals and c) Expert inspections at regular intervals. Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety HSG76 (Second edition)

  17. Workplace Transport Safety.  Are there clearly marked pedestrian routes were you are kept separate from vehicles? Guidance:  Workplace Transport Safety HSG 136.

This is not a full and exhaustive list the aim is to give you guidance on the basics that should be in place at your Warehouse/Distribution Centre. If you wish to find out more information please go online to

Contact the Northampton Branch Health and Safety Committee


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