Safety isn’t just a motto; it is a way of life in the modern day workplace setting. Businesses around the world are becoming increasingly aware that safety in the place of work is paramount not only for boosting workforce productivity and morale, but also for the organization’s operational sustainability.
We at Verge have carried out an analysis of the workplace, especially the warehousing and manufacturing environment, leading us to look for ways to quickly address the urgent need for safe passage of pedestrians to avoid near miss incidents, injuries and fatalities that mar the workplace. We have realized that gangways demarcated by a yellow line on are no longer adequate for delineating pathways for forklifts and other motorized equipment and that physical barriers of a more robust nature are required.
That’s just one aspect. There are many other applications for the safety products that we make here at Verge. Whether it’s a factory, warehouse, airport terminal or hospital, verge safety barriers prevent moving equipment from intruding into pedestrian passageways, and vice versa, leaving the workforce (and all relevant stakeholders) to breathe easy in the knowledge that their safety is well taken care of.
Lapses in the safety at a workplace are detrimental to the reputation of a business. Apart from tarnishing the image and setting a bad precedent for all the internal and external stakeholders, it also has a negative impact on the financial budget of a business set-up. Let us analyze further in quantifiable terms that how it impacts the production and the budgets.
- Each year, the burden on Australian Economy due to the injuries at the workplace costs a whopping sum of 60 billion Dollars.
- In 2013, 6 workers died in incidents with Forklift Trucks.
- SafeWork NSW show that 1360 workers were injured in fork-lift truck incidents in 2 years from July 2012 to July 2014.
- During the period of 2000 to 2013, on an average 35 workers in Australia were seriously injured to claim off for one week or more. Now, that is really a big number!
- In 2011-12, a typical serious claim in construction industry involved 6.4 weeks off work.
- Over the same 11 year period, there were 401 work related fatalities in construction industry alone.
- Manufacturing Industry dealt with 89 injuries per 1000 workers in 2005-06 which is 26% higher than all Australian workers.
- In 2009-10, 70% of the total workplace fatalities in Australia were in Construction, Manufacturing, Mining and Storage and Transportation.
The non-quantifiable factors that evidently take a toll on the business and a worker’s life as well have been categorised as:
- Support to the injured work through rehabilitation
- Effect on quality of life of the work
- Strain on relations with family, friends, colleagues etc
- Mental health issues like PTSD
- The time for an injured worker costs the company by way of Sick pay
- Hiring cost of a replacement manpower
- Increased insurance premiums
While there is no ideal situation in the world where the workplace safety can be optimized to 100%, there are certainly ways to overcome workplace hazards in an effective manner thereby minimizing the injuries and fatalities.
So let’s take a look at some of the potential work hazards your workplace is exposed to and how Verge can help you find a solution for this.
Work Place Hazard Identification and Mitigation of Risk
The most effective way to protect personnel is to train them on safety awareness as well as eliminate traffic hazards. This can be achieved by identifying the hazards in the workplace,
assessing the risks, and designing the layout of the workplace in such a way that the interactions between pedestrians and vehicles are kept to the bare minimum or are entirely eliminated.
Workplace environment: Warehouse and factory floors
Potential hazards: Motor vehicles, Forklifts and other motorized equipment
Vehicles including powered mobile plant moving in and around a workplace, reversing, loading and unloading are frequently linked with death and injuries to workers and members of the public. During the 2010 – 2014 period alone there were 91 fatalities recorded in Australia as a result of moving plant in the workplace.
Solution and Recommended Products
Carefully planning and controlling vehicle operations, moving plant and pedestrian movements at the workplace can help mitigate against this hazard.
Apart from use of signage to warn of potential hazards and setting of speed limits within the factory premises, selection of the right type of barrier within the design would be highly advisable.
Modular Pedestrian Barriers
The most suitable pedestrian safety barriers are modular (come in component form) and are bright yellow for higher visibility. The modular design enables you to buy only what you need, and you can arrange the barriers in using almost any pattern. If your warehouse or factory floor shape is irregular you can still use these barriers seamlessly. The modular design is so versatile that you can also use safety gates to create access points where required, usually at intersections or thoroughfares, while maintaining a continuous secured barrier.
Verge has designed a unique barrier solution that physically separates between pedestrians and moving plant such as forklifts tow tugs and warehouse vehicles – without negatively impacting on the workplace aesthetics. Our wide range of accessories such as V-Stop, V-Gate and the vivid safety gate provide a comprehensive system for warehouse safety management.
Structural columns are common in most warehouse, factory and construction site facilities; in situations where vehicles frequently operate in close proximity to building columns, impacts against these columns can threaten structural integrity, resulting in costly damage. Verge Column Protectors play an important role in safeguarding your building’s support columns from such impact, reducing exposure of your building to structural damage as well as reducing the risk of workplace injury.
Another product that can help reduce accidents is dome mirrors. They help create safe working environments by preventing accidents at blind corners, intersections, entries and exits. These mirrors are useful in factories where personnel and forklift traffic can cross paths and in offices where blind intersections and corners exist. They can also be installed for security purposes to prevent theft and vandalism. Available in full, half, and quarter dome models, they are ideal for shops, offices, warehouses, hospitals, driveways and undercover car parks.
Workplace environment: Construction sites
Potential hazards: Excavations, Motor vehicles and forklifts movement
Apart from vehicular movement, construction sites are prone to several other hazards which personnel, and indeed the public, need to be protected against. In fact fencing off of the construction site from the public is a requirement under the law. For our purposes we shall focus on excavations, namely trenches and pits, which can result in serious injury when people fall into them. Excavations should be cordoned off using barriers especially if they are likely to remain in place over a long time.
Solution and Recommended Product
Eco rails and expandable barriers
The 1m high Verge-ECO rail or verge expandable barriers can be very useful for cordoning off an excavated area within the construction site. Their modular design which enables them to be assembled or taken apart makes them especially suitable for this type of protection which is temporary by nature.
Workplace environment: Loading docks and raised platforms
Potential hazards: vacant loading docks, motor vehicles and forklifts movement
Vacant loading docks are really dangerous inside any workplace or facility. They create a potentially fatal 1.2 m drop-off for personnel and mobile equipment operating in the vicinity. Positioning a solitary safety chain across a dock door is hardly enough protection from serious falls.
Solution and Recommended Products
Injuries and damage to products or equipment can be minimized by installing loading dock safety barriers. It is advisable to first consider the site specific safety needs of your premises before choosing which barrier to buy so as to get the most benefits from your selection. For raised platforms we recommend using the Verge Roll Over Gate which has the advantage of increased safety and ease of use compared to conventional sliding access gates.
Workplace environment: Public areas such as hospitals, schools and shopping malls
Potential hazards: Vehicles and other motorized equipment
The hazards created within this working environment are essentially the same as in warehouses and factories as they mostly involve moving vehicles. In this case the car park is the most hazardous area that would require cordoning off using barriers. In the shopping mall there is the loading area, where forklifts normally operate, hence requiring the same mitigation measures we have discussed above.
All in all, the ideal safety barrier for the public place will be a combination of the solutions we have studied, depending on the purpose for which it is required. Perhaps what is important to note is that within the building cordoning off is likely to occur where there are repairs going on, the barriers used should be versatile, clearly visible, light and foldable for easy movement from place to place.
Solution and Recommended Products
For a full list of all the equipment available in our stores you can check out the products web page where we have included photographs that vividly capture each and every item. Should you have any questions or comments feel free to drop us an E-mail and you can be sure that our experts will get back to you in a quick time.