Big box retail/warehouse blitz: Pedestrian safety

Sep 11, 2018

warehouseTraffic management and pedestrian safety will be under scrutiny during the upcoming Big Box Retail and Warehouse Blitz, October 1 to November 23, 2018, warns WSPS Consultant Chuck Leon. "This is huge right now and Ministry of Labour inspectors have written orders for this." The attention is due to a consistently high number of incidents involving vehicles and powered mobile equipment.

Implementing a traffic management and pedestrian safety plan can protect employers and workers from incidents and injuries involving vehicles - inside and outside of the workplace.

With this in mind, inspectors are likely to ask such questions as:
  • do you have a program in place?
  • how do you keep pedestrians away from vehicles?
  • have you marked out crossing points for drivers and pedestrians?
  • do you have pedestrian walkways?
  • are you training in pedestrian safety?
In addition to traffic management, inspectors will probably look for compliance around these six key focal points:
  • lift trucks
  • cranes
  • conveyors
  • racking systems
  • loading docks
  • housekeeping
"Ongoing control of hazards related to these areas should be part of any proactive health and safety program," says Chuck.

Lift truck training in particular continues to be an area where employers fall short, says Chuck, who is also Past Chair of a CSA B335-15 safety standard for lift trucks subcommittee. The training must include four elements: theory, knowledge verification test, hands-on training, and skills evaluation. It’s also critical that a competent person oversees the training.

For employers who have not yet developed a program or have a partial program in place, here are some guidelines for traffic management program development.
  • Carry out a risk assessment to identify currently used vehicle and walking routes as well as areas at higher risk because of the type of vehicle, pedestrian activities, and/or area layout.
  • Identify hazards. Are loads on lift trucks too high, blinding the driver? Are pedestrians walking freely instead of using walkways? Are pallets left piled at the ends of rows? Are visitors entering your warehouse?
  • Identify the safest routes. Develop a traffic flow layout that provides vehicles and pedestrians with separate pathways. Take special precautions where the two intersect.
  • Implement communication protocols, warning signs or other safeguards to protect workers around vehicle traffic.
  • Train all workers on the program. This includes drivers, pedestrians, temporary workers, contractors, and visitors.
  • Monitor compliance and evaluate the program regularly.

How we can help

  1. WSPS' highly qualified consultants like Chuck Leon can help you develop a traffic management system tailored to the hazards in your workplace.
  2. Add this series of short warehouse safety videos to your training program.
  3. Sign up for warehouse safety training courses on such topics as crane and hoist safety, fall prevention, inspecting and maintaining steel storage racks, lift trucks and other lifting devices, and more.
  4. Attend these sessions at WSPS' regional fall conferences:
    1. "Walk this Way and Protect Your Workers by Having a Pedestrian Traffic Plan," Northeastern Ontario (Sudbury, October 3-4) and Forum North (Thunder Bay, November 6-7)
    2. "Human Factors in Pedestrian Safety," Southwestern Ontario (Kitchener, October 24) and Golden Horeshoe (Niagara Falls, November 15)