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Warehouse and Distribution Legislation – What You Need to Know

Warehouses can be dangerous places with heavy, unwieldy and sometimes precarious loads to be handled, equipment to be used that may require training and supervision, and processes that can put staff and the public at risk.  A risk assessment should be undertaken under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and any and all reasonable action taken to reduce these risks.  You may want to make reference to The Provision of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (concerning the correct usage, inspection and maintenance of equipment) as well as any other applicable legislation such as The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (if loads are handled manually), The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (if lifting machinery or equipment such as fork lift trucks are used) and The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (if work at height is undertaken such as on high rise shelving or racking, or if there is a danger of falling objects).

You may also have further responsibilities if you have a turnover of more than £2 million and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year as The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 require businesses with this level of output to recover a percentage of their packaging every year.   The amount you have to recover is based on the amount you handle or produce, which class of producer you come under and the relevant recycling targets of the UK for that year.  While the easiest way to fulfil your obligations is to join a packaging compliance scheme (whereby for a fee a business takes on your responsibilities for recovering the packaging and providing evidence of doing so), you can register your business directly and implement your own scheme for recovering and recycling your packaging.