17th December 2013
Is there an elephant in the stockroom of injury claims and accident compensation?
There is unlikely to be a retail shop or office worker who hasn’t, at some point, not experienced an accident or even a serious injury while negotiating hazards in the company stockroom. While latest Health & Safety figures state there were over 22,000 major injuries reported in the workplace between 2011 and 2012 - mostly involving slips, trips, falls from height and manual lifting or carrying – mention of precise location is not always given.
Yet, accident solicitors frequently see claims for all manner of mishaps from bangs on the head, cuts and bruises and twisted ankles as a result of attempting to find items in badly organised, overflowing stockrooms. Often shelving may be overloaded and boxes stacked up haphazardly on the floor. It’s not unknown for there to be just one ladder available with defective rungs or the ladder can’t be found!
The sales assistant or office worker will try to reach the upper shelves by stacking up boxes or climbing up shelves. Employees will even try to use a broken chair - there’s always one discarded in the stockroom! Inevitably, an accident will occur as the temporary climbing arrangement gives way and boxes from upper shelves are disturbed and fall down.
Tidying up a small company stockroom may only take place when new stock is delivered and needs to be stored. Then the next set of potential risks may come into play when staff may try to assist by attempting to lift or even carry heavy items.
In all of the above circumstances, staff training should be given to raise awareness of potential safety hazards, which cause serious injury, and carrying out the correct procedures for when to use lifts, trolleys and ‘cages’ and equipment such as stepladders, etc. It is also advised that a second member of staff should also remain in the stockroom when a ladder is being used to help reduce the risk of a ‘fall from height’ accident.
Deliveries of stock should be stored as quickly and securely as possible and are not left obstructing floor space, preventing doors from opening fully and light cardboard boxes not stacked up too high so they are easily knocked over.
Stockrooms should always be kept tidy to prevent a slip, trip or fall accidents – not just when a delivery is imminent or at a regular stock check.