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Example risk assessment for chilled warehousing

Important reminder

This example risk assessment shows the kind of approach a small business might take. Use it as a guide to think through some of the hazards in your business and the steps you need to take to control the risks. Please note that it is not a generic risk assessment that you can just put your company name on and adopt wholesale without any thought. This would not satisfy the law – and would not be effective in protecting people.

Every business is different – you need to think through the hazards and controls required in your business for yourself.

Setting the scene

This company provides chilled warehousing facilities (eg at temperatures between 2° and 5°C) at three locations. Capacity at each location is 10 000 pallet spaces, using fixed and mobile racking. Pallet throughput at each location averages 4000 a week. The company has just switched from using R22 refrigerant to ammonia.

Twenty people are employed in the warehouses, working a variety of shifts. Three members of staff are from an Eastern European country and, of these, only one speaks good English. At busy times, temporary staff from an employment agency may also be employed.

The site manager did the risk assessment, which covers goods inward from the gate to the cold store, its storage and its despatch.

How was the risk assessment done?

The manager followed the guidance in Controlling the risks in the workplace.

  1. To identify the hazards, the manager:
    • looked at HSE’s web pages for free health and safety advice and guidance for the warehousing industry, and at Warehousing and storage: a guide to health and safety HSG76, particularly the chapter on temperature-controlled storage;
    • walked around the areas where staff, customers and others may go, noting what might pose a risk and taking HSE’s guidance into account ;
    • talked through the issues with the safety representative including how knowledge of risks and risk controls could effectively be communicated to the two staff members who did not speak good English, and health and safety training for agency staff;
    • talked to supervisors and other members of staff to learn from their detailed knowledge of particular jobs and areas, and to discuss whether safe working procedures needed to be developed for certain jobs; and
    • looked at the accident book to get information on past problems.
  2. The manager then wrote down who would be harmed by the hazards and how.
  3. The manager took account of HSE’s guidance. Where he did not consider existing controls good enough, he wrote down what else was needed to control the risk.
  4. The manager discussed the findings with the safety representative. Then, to implement the findings of the risk assessment, the manager decided who was responsible for each of the actions that were needed, and when each action should be done. He recorded the date when each action was completed.
  5. The manager decided to review and update the assessment at least once a year, or at any time when major changes to the workplace occurred, such as the introduction of a new plant or process.
Updated 2014-09-01