Protecting pedestrians

20 August 2014

Correct segregation in the warehouse between people and vehicles is fundamentally important but getting it right is a nuanced matter as outlined by Chris Hopkirk, sales director at ASG Services.

When assessing safety in flooring is respect to the logistics sector there are a number of elements to consider.

• Risk assessment – as there is no regulation to what is required to maintain pedestrian safety this is your first port of call after making yourself aware of the HSG136 Work Place Transport Guide. This can be downloaded free from the Health & Safety Executive website.

• Floor preparations – considering the type of line marking or walkway preparation is key to ensuring that you have a durable finish ensuring your health & safety regime is maintained and not degraded over time.

• Cleaning regime – ensures the areas created are maintained and visible. It also reduces wear and tear and guards against eventually failure.

• Slips, trips and falls – maintain an awareness of the impact of the operation on the flooring. Broken boxes, pallets and spillages will create dangers to staff and visitors.

When considering the safety of pedestrians on site, the following good practice should be followed, as per guidelines from HSG136 Workplace transport safety.

• Provide separate routes or pavements for pedestrians, to keep them away from vehicles.

• Where needed, provide suitable barriers or guard rails at entrances to and exits from buildings, and at the corners of buildings, to prevent pedestrians walking straight on to roads.

• If traffic routes are used by both pedestrians and vehicles, they should be wide enough to allow vehicles to pass pedestrians safely. On traffic routes in existence before 1 January 1993, passing places or traffic management systems should be provided, as necessary, where it is not practical to make the route wide enough for this purpose. Routes used by vehicles such as fork lift trucks inside buildings should be indicated by lines drawn on the floor to inform pedestrians.

Areas of risk

Yards – vehicles manoeuvring.
Loading bays – vehicles reversing.
Car parks.
Entry routes from car parks.
Warehouse doors – FLT/LGV traffic.
Assembly areas & access for emergency vehicles.

FLT routes.
Goods in & despatch areas.
Racking aisles.
Hazardous goods areas.
Hazardous machinery.
Warehouse doors between areas.
Emergency escape routes.
Goods falling from racking/block stacks.

• Where pedestrian and vehicle routes cross, appropriate crossing points should be provided and used. Crossing points should be suitably marked and signposted. Where necessary, barriers or rails should be provided to prevent pedestrians crossing at particularly dangerous points and to direct them to designated crossing places. At crossing places where there is a high volume of traffic, the provision of traffic lights or suitable bridges or subways should be considered.

• Pedestrians should be able to see clearly in all directions at crossing points.

• Where crowds of people are likely to walk on to roadways, for example at the end of a shift, consideration should be given to stopping vehicles from using the routes at these times.

• Separate vehicle and pedestrian doors should be provided in premises, with vision panels on all doors.

• On routes used by automatic, driverless vehicles and also by pedestrians, steps should be taken to ensure that pedestrians do not become trapped by vehicles. The vehicles should be fitted with safeguards to minimise the risk of injury. Sufficient clearance should be provided between the vehicles and pedestrians, and care should be taken to ensure that fixtures along the route do not create trapping hazards.

They are not always appropriate. They should be used to:
• Direct people away from hazards.
• Restrict the routes that pedestrians would otherwise take.
• Identify where vehicles and pedestrians are likely to be.

Walkways should not be used when:
• They cannot be enforced.
• Pedestrians are working in an area rather than passing through (eg picking, packing or despatch areas). In these situations, safe systems of work etc become more important.
• Where better controls are available – eg avoid access or install barriers.

It is important to remember that being on a walkway does not provide total protection against injury. Pedestrians as well as vehicle drivers need to remain vigilant and aware and to make sure they have been seen.