Lead Forensics

A guide to the safe use of warehouse trolleys

Here at Steely Products, we make well-designed and durable trolleys, and ensure they are safe to use, but that’s not to say there aren’t risks when working with warehouse trolleys. As long as warehouse owners are aware of the dangers, risks can be kept to a minimum.

What are the dangers?

When moving items manually using trolleys, there are injury dangers if they are used incorrectly. When workers push or pull trolleys, they have to be careful to avoid trips, slips or falls. Poorly stacked heavy items falling off trolleys can cause injury if they hit people, while lifting items on and off trolleys may cause back or muscle strain if the manual handling technique is incorrect.

Knowing about all potential dangers is the first step to minimising risks.

The law and regulations

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces all UK health and safety regulations. All employers have a responsibility to be familiar with health and safety laws that affect the operation of the warehouse, including trolleys.

The HSE has detailed safety guidelines on material handing on its website. https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/manual-handling/index.htm.


PPE (personal protective equipment) may be needed to work safely in the warehouse. This has taken on a new meaning during the pandemic when face masks have been compulsory, but when handling and moving items, extra PPE may be required. For example, workers handling large sheets of glass and moving them using A-frame trolleys should wear gloves, steel-toed shoes and protective headwear. If handling hazardous substances, extra PPE may be required.

Warning signs and markings

Currently, staff pushing trolleys need to be socially distanced from others, so floor marking can measure the necessary two-metre distances, and be repositioned if this changes. In areas where trolleys mix with powered vehicles like forklifts, or where pedestrians walk, warning signs prompt all parties to be careful.

Safe use of trolleys

All staff that use trolleys should be trained in their safe use. They need to know how to safely lift items on and off trolleys. Here are some basic guidelines:

•Never pile up items so that operators cannot see over the top.
•Warehouses need to be tidy so that there is no danger of hitting items left on the floor
•All spills that could cause trolley operators to slip should be cleaned up immediately
•Trolleys should never be left unattended on sloping surfaces if they don’t have wheel locks
•Push rather than pull trolleys where possible and always lean in the direction the trolley is going
•Never exceed the maximum load that the trolley is capable of carrying, If in doubt about the maximum weight, talk to us at Steely Products.
•When moving heavy, bulky or awkwardly shaped items such as sofas, make sure that the appropriate trolley is used. A flatbed trolley is fine for small items, but specialist trolleys may be needed for sofas, sheet glass and metal, beds and other types of bulky inventory.

At Steely Products, we believe that all workers deserve to be safe using our trolleys. That’s why our skilled metalworkers take care to fabricate strong trolleys with reliable welded joints. If you have any questions about the safe use of our equipment, give us a call on 0161 702 7002 or use the contact form below

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