Practice a risk assessment

This exercise is the last stage in this training package. It's an opportunity for you to put into practice all the techniques you've learned so far. Although it's based on a warehouse business, the exercise been designed to encourage you to use the general techniques required for a successful risk assessment. Whatever your business background, completing this task should give you the confidence that you are able to spot hazards, judge risks, decide on appropriate controls and record a risk assessment properly. When you come to do a risk assessment for your own business, you'll have the added advantage of being familiar with the workplace.

Instructions

Owl and Co. Distributions are a small warehouse-based company specialising in packaging and distribution of DIY and building supplies. Conduct a risk assessment for the business using the information provided. Look carefully at all the information available and then work through the five steps. Don't forget to use the toolkit on the top toolbar to help you.

Print off the blank recording form (PDF 23KB) to record your significant findings. If you need to refer back to any part of the tutorial to check what the law says you need to include, use the back and next buttons to jump back and forth. Once you've completed the exercise, compare your assessment with the answers, to see whether it complies with health and safety legislation.

Background information

Owl and Co. Distributions employs 28 permanent members of staff working on shifts. Shifts are from 04:00 to 12:00 and from 12:00 to 20:00 for warehouse staff and delivery drivers. Administration and management work from 08:00 to 16:00. Security staff work from 20:00 to 04:00. A cleaning company is contracted to clean the office and rest facilities after 17:00 on Mondays. Main daily activities includes reception and despatch of goods to lorries in the delivery bay; mechanical and manual handling of goods; and administration and sales in the office area.

Equipment inventory

  • Warehouse:
  • Fleet of 6 lorries
  • 4 forklift trucks
  • Hand carts
  • 8 pallet trucks and 500 pallets
  • 3 wheeled stepladders
  • Storage racking (freestanding and fixed)
  • Personal protective equipment:
  • 40 pairs of steel toe capped boots, overalls, pairs of gloves

Office:

  • 3 computers
  • 1 printer
  • 3 workstations
  • 4 filing cabinets
  • Set of 12 lockers
  • 1 kettle
  • 10 plastic chairs

Photographs

forklift truck in a busy warehouse yard
Yard
interior of the office
Office
gas cylinder storage areas
Gas storage
racking in the warehouse area
Racking
warehouse emergency fire exit
Fire exit
Delivery bay for the warehouse
Delivery bay

Floor plan 

floorplan of the warehouse and office building

Systems and procedures

All staff are required to take a 30 minute break during their shift and should not work continuously for more than six hours.

Delivery drivers must keep journey records and take breaks in compliance with European regulations.

All new warehouse staff are briefed on the main activities of the business and should be given the correct PPE to wear for each activity they undertake.

All forklift operators must be fully trained in their use.

Anyone entering the warehouse is required to wear steel toe capped boots and a bright-yellow bib so they can easily be seen. Office staff generally use the main entrance and do not enter the main warehouse area.

The yard is fenced in and there is no access to unauthorised personnel anywhere on the property.

The fire alarm system is tested weekly at a designated time, and there is a fire drill every six months. There is also no smoking allowed anywhere on the premises.

Employees' comments

Senior forklift operator

'The oldest forklift truck needs replacing now if you ask me. Its been making a tapping noise when it's running at the higher speeds and the brakes aren't very sharp. Its last servicing was over a year ago, so its about time it was serviced at least.'  

Trainee junior forklift operator

'I think things are going very well with my training so far. Sometimes I'm not always sure what I'm doing, but I'm sure I'll pick it up eventually - its just that everyone seems so busy, I don't want to bother them and ask for help. The warehouse is so hot I've had to take my gloves off - I don't know why we have to wear them at all really.'

Warehouse foreman

'I'm concerned that although on the whole most workers go outside to smoke, occasionally when it rains some move inside by the delivery area. With trucks in and out all the time, there's a real danger to anyone walking around there. There's always a lot of loose flammable packaging around there as well.'

Page from the company accident book

excert from the accident book


 

 

Example recording formhttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/blankform.pdf22748pdf
Risk assessment process checklisthttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/checklist.pdf32079pdf
The hierarchy of controlshttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/hierarchy.pdf23797pdf
Important risk assessment legislationhttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/legislation.pdf24893pdf
Categorising risks with a risk matrixhttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/matrix.pdf34775pdf
Office case studyhttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/office case study.pdf37399pdf
Warehouse case studyhttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/warehouse case study.pdf76776pdf

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