The HSE1 say that the sector has a worse than average record for health and safety performance.
According to the Labour Force Survey2 results (between 2014/15 and 2016/17) the non-fatal injuries rate is significantly higher than the all-industries rate, and work-related ill-health is just above the all industries rate. For both, the rates are particularly high for the postal and courier sub-sector, but nearly all the sub-sectors have a higher than average rates, especially for injuries. Looking into the ill health statistics a little closer it would appear that 53% are musculoskeletal, 29% stress, depression or anxiety with 18% other illnesses3.
The HSE RIDDOR statistics show that fatal injuries to workers by kind of accident in the sector (between 2012/13 and 2016/17) are being struck by moving vehicle (39%), then struck by moving object and fall from height, both at 18%. Slips, trips and falls at the same level remain the highest cause of non-fatal injuries (28%) followed very close behind with lifting/handling (27%) and struck by moving object at 12%.
Other areas of importance for health can be grouped around the effect of travelling, including welfare arrangements and fatigue. Load safety continues be a cause for concern. Poor packing and securing can cause significant risks during transit and at the point of delivery. Work-related road risk is an ongoing focus, with a possible 30% of deaths and serious injuries on the roads occur during work.
The HSE have listed three priorities in their latest sector strategy, with an underlying fourth, namely:
- Reducing the impact of poorly controlled loads.
- Reducing the rate of ill health caused by musculoskeletal disorders.
- Increasing engagement with work-related road risk.
- Welfare facilities.
The HSE have received a number of complaints from drivers, that they are not being allowed to use the ‘facilities’ when they are being unloaded/loaded. Therefore, the guidance (HSG136)4 has been changed to reinforce the message that organisations have a duty to provide such facilities to drivers.
With regard guidance on the security of loads, check out the latest webinar from the IOSH Retail & Distribution Group.5
The HSE have said that they will give targeted interventions for the highest risk sites and activities, with focus on road safety and musculoskeletal disorders, whilst looking to:
- Promote the use of technology.
- Identify any ‘new’ problems associated with musculoskeletal disorders and provide guidance on possible under-utilised solutions.
- Develop and communicate their regulatory position on work-related road risk.
- Lead and engage with others to improve workplace and health and safety (i.e. improved welfare facilities).
With regards the use of technology it will be interesting to see over the next five years whether or not the predicted growth in the robotics serving logistics will come to fruition? Currently, it’s said, that around 80% of warehouses are manually operated, meaning they have no automation support. What are your thoughts on this?