Logistics

Logistics is an important part of the supply chain and so a risk to logistics put others within the supply chain at risk. We understand and help you manage these hazards.  

There are risk topics not detailed here that affect all businesses, including fire risk assessment, health and safety policy and people management.

We also recommend that you take the time to read our advice about business continuity. Issues like loss of accessmachinery/plant breakdown and supply chain failure can cause significant problems for logisitcs companies.

Regardless of whether driving is taking place on a work site, premises owned by the business, a private road or a public road, drivers need to be aware of others who may also be using the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, large and heavy goods vehicles, emergency services and learner drivers. This awareness will reduce risk for drivers, your business and customers.

Preventative action includes driver training and regular assessments including the Highway Code.  

Depending on the stock or materials involved in your operations, you may need units that maintain a low temperature to store items that would otherwise perish or deteriorate and become unsaleable and/or unusable for your clients.

The temperature within these units needs to be checked on a daily basis and regular maintenance and inspections carried out to ensure they continue functioning as needed. Where food and drink or another type of consumable (e.g. prescription medicine) must be kept at a particular temperature, failing to maintain that temperature (and not realising or not taking appropriate action) can result in poisoning, which may be an even more expensive outcome than disposal.

An additional hazard to consider in and around cold storage is slips and trips, which can come about due to leaks or slippery floor surfaces. Where the unit is a 'walk-in' type, there must be safety features that ensure anyone inside can get out, or at least raise an alarm, should they be shut in . For this reason, lone working should not be permitted where the work involves cold stores. Employees working in and around cold storage must be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment and clothing to prevent ill effects, such as frostbite.

Detailed guidance in relation to premises with temperature-controlled storage (TCS), including advice on the "accidental lock-in" hazard, can be found in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publication 'Warehouse and storage: A guide to health and safety' (HSG76) from page 125 (of the second edition).

Logistic businesses are likely to obtain and hold confidential information on their clients and other third parties. If not handled and/or disposed of correctly, it can leave you and your clients vulnerable to theft, fraud and other risks. Computers in warehouses are not only at cyber risk, but drivers too as they take information on the road with them and physical theft can result in data losses.

Businesses have a responsibility of obtaining, processing and controlling data in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Due to the potential fines that may be involved in any GDPR breaches, it is important to have robust  systems in place to ensure sensitive information doesn't get into the wrong hands. Examples being, keeping confidential information only for as long as is absolutely necessary, and shredding confidential papers before recycling/disposing of them and/or utilising a workplace services provider for disposal of confidential papers and data. 

Workers who are required to drive at work still fall under health and safety law. Work-related road safety is important for driver and other road users too, reducing risk no matter the size of your organisation. Driver welfare is also important as lone workers driving goods around are more at risk of harm compared to those working with others. Reviewing each individual's medical history, their job role and responsibilities and the potential hazards associated with locations and activities. 

If workers have to drive outside of the UK, both you and they need to be aware of differences in laws and driver and vehicle requirements. Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI) driving licences are valid in all European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries, but the differences in regulations will still need to be checked.

Additionally, bringing a vehicle into the UK has a set of actions that must be completed beforehand. The risks involved of driving abroad must be assessed before the journey is undertaken and the degree of risk will depend on the country involved.  Journey routes should still be planned and ensure that the driver is content with the arrangement. 

Theft by employees can, unfortunately, be an issue for logistic businesses. Stock and equipment may be attractive and of high value, and employees are regularly alone with them.

Performing random and/or regular spot-checks (as laid out within their employment contract) and CCTV in staff-only areas can act as a deterrent as well as a way of identifying a culprit if there are suspicions of employee theft.

When developing your security systems, however much you trust each of your employees, factor in the methods that could be used to remove cash and theft-attractive items without detection, and eliminate the 'weak points', such as unprotected staff-only entrances and exits.

On top of the risk of access to expensive stock, logistic companies handle lots of invoices, receipts, bank account details and other financial documents which an employee could manipulate so measures need to be in place to manage and secure these as well.

A fire risk assessment will determine whether the means of detecting and controlling a fire at your premises are adequate. Fire protection is just as important as detection as these measures can prevent a fire from spreading, destroying stock, machinery and premises.

This can be achieved by dividing the building with fire-resisting walls and doors, and installing fire suppression systems (such as sprinklers). Additionally, workers need to be suitably trained in using fire fighting equipment. 

The nature of your stock plays a large part in setting the odds of a fire or explosion at your premises. These goods will play a significant part in how quickly a fire spreads. When storing or moving flammable and explosive materials, check containers regularly and eliminate ignition sources.

Drivers must be aware of potential flammable and/or explosive goods they are transporting and ensuring the right protection is in place. Identifying potential fire and explosive hazards and completing both a fire and DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations) risk assessment is vital to all aspects of the storage and delivery of goods to keep your business and workers safe.

It is important that ignition sources remain outside of these storage areas. There is also an awareness needed about ignition sources for drivers who are carrying these goods or when refueling. Workers must have the correct training to prevent fire or explosions in the workplace or when driving goods.

It is important to include your workers in the overall management of work-related risks to health and safety. Health surveillance, whether self-checks or examinations, will help to protect the health of your employees and can identify early signs of illness.

Carrying out medical surveillance is required for compliance with various parts of UK health and safety legislation, but is also important for drivers who might have a potential lack of contact with employers being out on the road. 

The types of goods that you have on your premises or in a truck will make a big difference to your chances of suffering a burglary or hold-up. Intruder alarms can significantly reduce the amount of time a trespasser is comfortable on the premises, within a warehouse or where trucks are kept. The less time intruders are in an area, the less they will steal or damage.

An intruder alarm installed and maintained to the current European standards by a UKAS accredited inspection body (such as NSI or SSAIB), with remote signalling to an alarm receiving centre to summon assistance in the event of break in, should be considered for all logistics operations.

Lifting and supporting equipment are useful for reducing manual handling risk, however, they still carry their own danger with them. Injuries, property damage and even fatalities can occur if equipment isn't suitable for a task, used incorrectly or is damaged.

Any lifting operation should be carefully risk assessed and only carried out in safe environments, using equipment that is subject to a maintenance and inspection regime and by individuals who have been through the appropriate training. Regular inspection and training is important to comply with regulations and ensure workers, goods and customers are kept safe.

In addition to the risks while lift trucks are being operated, the recharging of their batteries can pose a number of significant hazards, such as fire, explosion, electrocution and burns. 

You need to ask yourself some searching questions about the keys and access codes needed to protect your premises, vehicles, stock and other valuable items like data. How many keys are there? Who has them or knows the codes, are they to be trusted?

The management of keys and access codes needs to be assessed on a regular basis to remain on top of processes that staff may have become complacent about and/ or when employees leave the business and / or changes to security levels are needed.

Incorrect manual handling can lead to injuries, known as 'musculoskeletal disorders’ (MSDs) because they involve damage to the back, joints and tissues in the upper or lower limbs. Whether lifting something in a warehouse or delivering goods to customers, employees must have the correct and regular training to avoid the risks associated with manual handling. During training sessions, employees must be made aware of what appropriate equipment is available, and how to use it, so that, as much as possible, they can avoid manual handling tasks.

Avoiding manual handling tops the hierarchy of measures outlined by the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) which imposes a duty to control the risk on employers. Risk assessments are also required for any manual handling operations that can't be avoided and are useful for making layouts more practical and potentially removing the need for manual handling in the first place. 

Being aware of what polluting materials you have onsite (such as oil, fuel for the vehicles; otherwise materials stored, handled and transported) and making appropriate arrangements can go a long way to reducing the chance of a pollution incident and potential prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act and related regulations.

A small quantity of oil, for example, can affect a large area and organisations can find themselves liable for the vast costs associated with remedying such situations. Environmental pollution law is complex, wide ranging and not totally consistent across the whole of the UK, so it is often advisable to seek professional advice or get a full environmental and ecological impact assessment or audit done for each premise that you manage.

Many pollution incidents occur when storage tanks are being replenished, so make sure that all deliveries and movements are supervised by a responsible person and check before deliveries to prevent overfilling. 

It is important to think about premises security throughout both the day and night and when the site is both occupied and unoccupied, assessing the vulnerable points intruders may be able to gain entry through. Robust perimeter fencing and gates, access control systems, security lights and CCTV are just some of the ways that logistics premises can be secured.  But, a full risk assessment will highlight ways to secure your premises and buildings.
Route planning is a beneficial tool for drivers' welfare and reducing journey times. With large and high-sided vehicles, it is important to route plan to avoid obstacles or difficult to manoeuvre roads. Planning for the journey and rest times means drivers know the options available to them and employers know that route is the best option. 

Your equipment and the spare parts kept onsite are often high-value items, therefore they become just as much a target as vehicles. In fact, a thief may target a vehicle, but not so they can steal it – instead, they may extract specific parts.

An added reason to invest in site security is the risk of arson due to the flammable and explosive nature of goods or vehicles. Take measures like locking vehicles in secure areas, installing robust security precautions and deterrents and making employees aware of what security systems are in place and what they are responsible for.

The logistics industry typically has a lot of shift workers, whether driving goods or in a warehouse. Although there are benefits to shift work, some undesirable effects can be health problems, disruption of the internal body clock, sleep disturbance and loss, errors, reduction in productivity and accidents.

Consider first if shift work is completely necessary. If so, how can you as an employer  comply with the law, what type of work is being carried out during a morning, day and late-night shift and whether night workers have the same facilities and procedures compared to day workers? If employees are working alone or are mobile when on shift then consider the risks and supervision needed for lone and mobile workers.

Lone workers and those working unsociable hours may be vulnerable to violence. Drivers and vehicles carrying goods may also be a target when resting during a night shift. Rest periods and days between shifts must also be thought about as workers need sufficient time to commute, eat, sleep and participate in domestic and social activities.

Racking in your warehouses needs to be fit for purpose, of a safe condition, properly installed and well maintained to prevent accidents which can cause serious injuries and even fatalities.

Signs, such as notes about weight limits, and markings like lines on the shelves to show the minimum distance from the edge an item can be safely placed are simple but effective starting points to prevent the structure from becoming unstable or objects falling from it. Racking systems should also be suitably protected against damage due to impacts from lift trucksroll cages and other vehicles or moving objects by the installation of barriers and guards and through effective site traffic management.

When carrying out risk assessments relating to a shelving or racking system, don't forget that the Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) will probably apply, even if machinery, such as a lift truck, is being used to reach items on high shelves. There can be a risk to anyone in the vicinity from falling objects while items are being shifted onto or off a shelf.

Technology in vehicles can help with safety, combatting accidents, managing driver behaviour and avoiding fraudulent claims. On board CCTV can prove a valuable addition for high-sided vehicles which might take routes with potential obstacles like low bridges. Additionally, CCTV can help the security of a vehicle and its' driver.

Driver safety, load stability and security features should be the first points to check off during the shortlisting process of a new vehicle, but there’s also issues like fuel efficiency and emissions to think about too.

When a vehicle is part of a fleet, the maintenance and safety of a vehicle falls with the employer to keep records and reports up to date. Limiting the variety of vehicles in your fleet, will help with maintaining knowledge and a good understanding of the ability of your vehicles.

In addition, consider the maximum height of lorries or the technology that can be added like proximity warnings.  

Stock or vehicles may be vulnerable to damage if a storm hits and may become exposed to the elements causing more damage. Buildings inside and out can be impacted if there are defects that need repairing or strengthening.

Strong winds and hail, amongst other weather conditions, can make driving more hazardous so drivers need to be appropriately experienced and prepared for a scenario that means they can't continue a journey or are stuck in standstill traffic when it's likely to be very cold.

Business continuity should also be considered if weather conditions affect delivery of goods. 

If work at height is planned, organised, appropriately supervised and carried out by competent workers in as safe a way as possible, injuries and fatalities can be prevented.

The risk from falling objects or collapsing structures shouldn’t be overlooked when planning work at height. Materials or tools falling from storage racking or another height can cause injury or lead to a fatality, and a structural collapse is dangerous not only to anyone working on or in it, but also those nearby.

It is important for workers to have the correct training, and all methods to complete a task risk assessed, such as moving goods, use of ladders, cleaning high-sided vehicles and the maximum load is adhered to so working at height can be undertaken safely or avoided where possible.

Furthermore, depending on the nature of the goods or storage facilities, slips can be more likely. Workers should wear appropriate non-slip footwear, any spills should be cleared immediately and areas like entrances, exits and walkways have covers and mats to protect from wet or cold weather. 

Any piece of mobile equipment in the workplace classes as a 'vehicle', including cars, truck and self-propelled machinery. Thousands of incidents involving transport in the workplace occur every year, with common problems arising associated with failure to assess the risk or insufficient training.

Risk assessments must be carried out for workplace transport to protect your employees, stock, vehicles and possibly customers too. Loading docks, yards, and storage areas with fork lift trucks can be especially hazardous.

Additional risk can exist where vehicles are moving around storage racking, raising the potential for impact damage and the structures to collapse, and causing significant damage to the premises, injury or even fatalities.

Site traffic management is another are to think about when considering transport. Whether lifting equipment or a high-sided vehicle is on site, traffic routes must be established, maintained and effectively sign posted. High-sided vehicles need extra precautions to ensure they don't overturn due to high winds of loss of balance.