Whether you run a warehouse and storage facility or a manufacturing plant, the safety of your loading bay is paramount. While the wet and inclement weather in the UK is often something that is associated with the need to assess how weather impacts safety, it’s vital to also consider the risks present to employees and loading bay equipment when the temperatures rise. With this in mind, we take a look at how to keep your loading bay safe, even in the event of a rare English heatwave. 

Heat related safety issues.

The combination of high temperature, intense sun, and increased activities can contribute to a hazardous environment. It is vital, therefore, to be aware of the risks that are heightened during warmer weather, such as:

  • Heat stress – If your workers are exposed to high temperatures, they could be at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, for example. Symptoms to be aware of include fatigue, nausea and dizziness.
  • Dehydration – When the weather is warmer, this can lead to excessive sweating, particularly for those who have very physical jobs. It can also impact on brain function, which could heighten the risk of errors that lead to accidents.
  • Slippery surfaces – While workers may bring a bottle of water to work, to reduce the risk of dehydration, the risk of spillages could be increased with the presence of more liquids on the loading dock. Slips, trips and falls are one of the top causes of workplace accidents, and it is vital therefore, to try and reduce the risk of them happening.
  • Malfunctioning equipment – If your loading bay equipment overheats, this could lead to malfunctions or breakdowns. In the best case, this can cause delay to your loading plan. At worst, it could lead to an accident.
  • UV exposure- If workers are not adequately protected and are working outside in the sun, this could lead to them becoming burnt, or developing skin damage or skin cancer.
  • Glare – The glare can cause issues with visibility, and on the loading bay, where it is vital to be able to see clearly to operate equipment and avoid hazards, this can be risky.
  • Fatigue- A tired worker is one who cannot work at their safest or best. A combination of increased heat and activity can make fatigue more likely, which can increase the risk of errors and accidents.

How to reduce the risks of warm weather on the loading bay.

There are various actions that you, as an employer, can take to help mitigate the risks of warmer weather.

These can include:

  • Creating a hydration area – Consistently provide cool water, perhaps in an easily accessible dispenser. Make sure that your employees are aware of the need to keep themselves hydrated.
  • Ventilating and shading where possible – If possible, installing awnings or purchase fans to ventilate or shade the area. This can help reduce the risk of heat exposure.
  • Provide protective equipment – Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen can all help to reduce the risk of sunburn and other warm weather issues.
  • Encourage regular breaks- Ensure there is a cool, shaded area for workers to take regular breaks, and perhaps consider allowing them extra breaks when the weather is at its hottest.
  • Maintain your equipment- Loading bay equipment should be regularly inspected, and well maintained to ensure it can cope with the stresses put upon it, including a rise in the temperature.
  • Cleaning – Avoid the risk of slipping and spillages by ensuring the loading bay is regularly cleaned

By ensuring all of these actions are taken, you can make your loading bay safe and comfortable for your employees. The tips above should help you do so while maintaining operational efficiency. After all, safe loading bays are productive loading bays.