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After you have identified the hazards in your workplace, you need to control them to ensure your workplace is safe.

Some examples of common control measures include:

Manual handling

  • load products on pallets, slip-sheets or cages so they can be transported by forklifts or powered mechanical aids
  • unload cartons and bags from pallets onto conveyors using mechanical aids such as pallet lifters and turntables, vacuum lifters or mechanical grabs
  • use an extendable, height adjustable conveyor if hand packing of shipping containers or trucks is required
  • select a loading dock that is at the same height as the container or truck floor when using a hand pallet jack
  • use a platform or order picking ladder to reach the top layers in a container or truck
  • store items for packing or unpacking as close as possible to the container
  • ensure warehouse management practices (such as work rates, shift lengths or bonus systems) do not encourage unsafe work methods.

Forklifts and trucks

  • define a pedestrian exclusion zone and use physical barriers to exclude pedestrians  from areas where forklifts and trucks are being driven
  • ensure the load is within the forklift load limit specified on the load capacity plate
  • securely bundle and stabilise goods so that the forklift driver can place the load without assistance
  • when loading trucks, stop operating forklifts if loads need to be inspected or tied down by the truck driver
  • implement a traffic management system that minimises the amount of vehicle movement
  • define reversing areas and place fixed mirrors at blind corners
  • provide high-visibility clothing for all persons in the vicinity of forklifts and trucks
  • use physical controls such as wheel clamps, dock locks or prime mover decoupling to prevent drive off from raised docks.

Working environment

  • use electric powered equipment within containers to minimise the risk of exposure to fumes (for example, electric forklift or powered rollers built into the floor of the container)
  • ensure there is no build-up of fumes within the container when unpacking
  • perform tasks regularly done at height, such as manual order picking, using a stock picker. If manual order picking at height is only infrequently done then use a platform ladder with a load lifter
  • provide appropriate safety harnesses for workers using stock pickers, reach trucks, turret trucks, scissor lifts and elevating work-assist vehicles
  • utilise nets, boards or other methods to protect persons from loose items falling from pallets, shipping containers, trucks or racking
  • regularly inspect racking to check its integrity and carry out maintenance where required
  • do not exceed the safe working limit for the unit load or the safe working total load per bay for the racking.

Fatigue

  • develop a working hours policy in consultation with health and safety representatives and employees
  • avoid quick changeovers in rosters (for example, finish shift at 10pm and start at 7am)
  • use forward shift rotation (morning → afternoon →night)
  • give employees at least 24 hours notice to prepare for long shifts
  • provide adequate breaks between shifts to allow employees enough recovery time
  • work with your employees to help them understand and avoid the risk of fatigue when working long hours or rotating shifts.

Equipment controls

  • provide adjustable seats and train the worker to adjust the seat so that it supports their sitting posture and enables them to operate controls comfortably
  • schedule rest breaks, and increase the frequency when working in cold environments or when the vehicle vibrates significantly (for example, when driving on bumpy roads)
  • maintain hand and foot controls to ensure that they move smoothly and comfortably.

Relevant publications