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Workplace Safety: Protecting your assets

It’s crucial to ensure your workplace is as safe as possible. This means that you should look to control or prevent potential hazards that could impact the people on your site or the site building itself. But it’s also important to ensure your assets are protected. This guide looks at what that means and how best to ensure you’re providing an effective level of protection.

You can read the full article or jump ahead to a relevant section:

1. Workplace asset protection: Understanding the basics
2. Protecting your machinery: What do I need to know?
3. Protecting workplace equipment: Keeping things safe
4. Workplace protection: Looking after your stock and goods


1. Workplace asset protection | Understanding the basics

Once the people in your workplace are properly protected and the building is shielded from potential damage, it’s important to consider your assets. But what do we mean by the term ‘assets’?

What are workplace assets?

Assets refer to a variety of element in the workplace that are important to the business but they are neither employees or infrastructure.
Examples of assets include:
• Machinery
• Equipment
• Site vehicles and other materials handling tools
• Stock and goods

Why do we need to protect workplace assets?

Each of these asset groups is important to the success of a business, so it is essential that employers and the relevant Health and Safety personnel provide effective protection.

If any of the items in the list above become damaged because of a workplace accident, there is a chance that it could impact either the workforce or your building and infrastructure. Damage to assets is likely to halt production or at least slow down productivity – and could result in a loss of finances, either through costly repairs or, in the case of stock and goods, lost or delayed customer orders.

How do you protect assets at a factory or warehouse?

There are a variety of ways to ensure your workplace assets are shielded from unwanted accidents and incidents. These include:

Installing effective workplace safety systems
• Creating strict safety guidelines for moving through and working on a busy site
• Following all relevant health and safety regulations and legislation
• Maintaining and repairing assets where possible
• Providing effective training around the use of machinery and equipment

The rest of this article goes into detail about the right way to protect various workplace assets.

Jump to: Protecting your machinery: What do I need to know?
Jump to: Protecting workplace equipment: Keeping things safe
Jump to: Workplace protection: Looking after your stock and goods


2. Protecting your machinery: What do I need to know?

Why should you protect workplace machinery?

Machinery is the engine that keeps a factory operating. While machinery is up and running, production can continue, and people can keep working. If machinery suffers damage or destruction, from an impact with a site vehicle for example, this can have wider ramifications than just repairing or replacing the machine.

Damage to your machinery can mean substantial periods of downtime not only for your workers but also for production. If your machinery can’t function, then you will struggle to fulfil orders and meet deadlines. Not to mention the risks to workers that come with using faulty or damaged machinery.

Therefore, it is important that you protect your machinery from damage. By identifying hazards in a risk assessment, you can implement measures to prevent incidents from occurring and reduce the risk of disruption.

How do you protect machinery?

As mentioned above, a risk assessment is the ideal way to spot potential hazards that could affect your machinery or cause potential harm or damage to others in the facility.

The common types of risks to machinery include:

• Exposed cable trays or conveyors which are vulnerable to site vehicles
• Unprotected moving parts that could be struck by forklift trucks or cause injury
• Wiring or additional components which create trip hazards
• Areas of machinery causing obstructions for pedestrians and vehicles
• Machinery close to busy vehicle routes unprotected by barriers

Make sure it is set up correctly

Ensure your machinery is set up correctly. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines during installation and set-up. Where possible, use trusted fitters or specialist external teams to ensure the machinery meets the relevant specifications. If a machine is not set up properly, this can cause issues either immediately or further down the line as more problems arise with its performance. By minimising the errors in the set-up of a machine, you can reduce the amount of downtime needed to repair it later.

Maintain machinery properly

All machines need proper care and maintenance. This might be cleaning down your machine at regular intervals, replacing specific components that suffer wear and tear, or simply running diagnostic tests to ensure it is working optimally. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to see what action is required and how frequently it is needed.

If your machinery is still under warranty, the manufacturer may suggest regular services from trusted maintenance teams. If this is the case, then it is an investment worth making to maintain peak performance. Furthermore, it will allow you to factor in specific periods of planned downtime and adjust your production schedule accordingly.

Protecting machinery from its environment

During your risk assessment, try to identify any instances where the environment around your machinery could affect its performance. Is there other machinery or equipment being used in proximity which could create a potential risk to the machine? Is the machinery exposed to the elements in any way – i.e., is it near an external doorway or window? Is there an area of the building that requires maintenance to prevent unwanted substances affecting your machinery – i.e., leaks, fumes, sawdust or other debris, etc.

Once you’ve identified these potential risk factors, you can start to implement the necessary measures to reduce that risk. This may mean moving your machinery or reconfiguring the layout of your site, but often problems can be prevented with minor repairs and maintenance.

Protecting machinery from site vehicles

As mentioned in the section on protecting people in the workplace, accidents involving site vehicles – such as forklift trucks and pallet trucks – are all too common, especially in very busy facilities.

Knocks and bumps can often seem minor, but they can cause severe damage to machinery, affecting operability and performance. By installing proper protective safety systems, you can minimise the risk of such damage.

Types of safety protection for machinery include:

Traffic barriers

Robust traffic barrier protection is ideal for shielding machinery from vehicle impacts. Barriers can provide specific protection to vulnerable areas of a machine or be configured to provide a protective perimeter around the workspace. Be sure to leave enough room for the ‘deflection zone’ – this is the space into which a barrier will deform when it is struck.

Effective traffic management

Safety barriers are also effective for optimising traffic management across your site. Traffic barriers can be used to define clear routes for traffic to while also keeping vehicles away from machinery and other vulnerable assets.

Learn more: Traffic barriers


If there isn’t room for a full barrier system, then bollards can provide specific protection to vulnerable areas of a machine, i.e. when the corner of a machine encounters a vehicle route. Bollards can provide heavy duty protection from forklift trucks and other large site vehicles without hindering access for pedestrians or machine operators – in these instances bollards can be a better choice than safety barriers.

Learn more: Bollards


3. Protecting workplace equipment: Keeping things safe

Tools and equipment are vital for day-to-day operations. Without them, employees would not be able to perform their jobs properly and safety. Therefore, employers need to do all they can to ensure that any on-site equipment is safely stored and appropriately protected.

Maintenance and servicing

It is important to ensure your equipment functions properly when it is needed, otherwise you run the risk of it failing. Not only will this impact on the work being undertaken, but it could also place workers in harm’s way. By looking after equipment, you can prevent additional incidents from occurring. Make sure you maintain your equipment properly and service it at regular intervals, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.


The proper storage of equipment ensures it won’t get lost, damaged or stolen. Not all equipment will need storing away at the end of shift, but where possible, creating designated storerooms is an effective way of keeping workspaces clear and equipment safe when it is not in use.

For smaller, hand-held equipment such as work tools and devices, creating workstations that include organised spaces for specific tools can ensure they are kept safe and easy to find when they are needed. One effective strategy – and one we use on the A-SAFE factory floor – is the 5S organisational system. This prioritises the organisation of workspaces to help jobs be performed more efficiently, effectively and safely.

Upgrading equipment

While it’s important to maintain and service your equipment regularly, there comes a point when it makes sense to upgrade to a newer model. Newer iterations of equipment are often more efficient and can include new safety features that can help to better protect the user.


4. Workplace protection: Looking after your stock and goods

It goes without saying that stock needs protecting. It’s what your workers spent hours creating, packaging and distributing with customers reliant on receiving their products on time. The last thing you need is for a workplace accident to result in the damage or destruction of valuable stock. Therefore, it’s important to provide the necessary protections:

Warehouse protection

Warehouses are used for the storage and organisation of stock, but also for storing manufacturing materials and components. Storage is optimised using warehouse racking, which is large industrial shelving. It is important to ensure warehouse racking is protected as it could create substantial damage if they are impacted by site vehicles. In many severe cases a collision could result in racking collapse and damage to a large volume of valuable stock. However, even minor impacts can damage stock and result in the racking being quarantined while the necessary repairs are made. This can hamper productivity and cause delays to customer orders.

There are a range of protective products that can be used to protect your racking and, in turn, your stored assets.

Rack leg protection

Leg protectors provide effective additional protection to your rack legs in the event of an impact with a site vehicle. The protector acts as a buffer to defend racking from scrapes, scuffs and knocks, absorbing and deflecting the force of impact away from the structure.

Find out more: Rack leg protectors

Rack end barriers

These work in the same way as standard traffic barriers by providing robust protection from vehicle impacts. These low-level barriers are ideal for defending against site vehicles as they move between aisles of racking. Rack ends are especially vulnerable to damage because vehicles laden with cargo can clip them when turning into the narrow aisles.

Find out more: Rack end barriers

Protection from vehicle forks

As forklift trucks are used to stack and organise the stock on warehouse racking, it’s important to defend against vehicle forks. Vehicle forks can damage either the stock itself or the warehouse racking, if a driver isn’t being careful or doesn’t have the space to manoeuvre effectively. Low-level fork barriers are often used in conjunction with rack end barriers to prevent forks from moving underneath the barrier.

Find out more: Fork barriers

Rack protection technology

A relatively new field in the world of workplace safety, but it is now possible to invest in software that can not only detect damage caused to warehouse racking but provide live, up-to-the-minute reports on the safety of your racking. A-SAFE created RackEye, a rack monitoring system that can send updates directly to your phone, so you can identify vulnerable areas of your warehouse.

Find out more: RackEye rack monitoring system

Topple Barriers and High-level protection

In areas where stock and goods are stacked without the aid of racking, high-level protection is incredibly important. Topple barriers provide two uses, goods can be stacked higher when they are safely contained – topple barriers help to segregate and contain these stacked goods. In addition, the barrier structures also provide effective defence from falling goods, preventing the chance of injury to nearby pedestrians, machinery and vehicles.

Learn more: Topple barriers

To learn more about the types of warehouse protections, read our blog: Types of Warehouse Racking Protection


In busy industrial areas, it’s crucial you can trust that your stock is properly protected from accidents and damage. At A-SAFE, we offer a range of warehouse and site safety measures for warehouse racking and high-level goods storage. Our team can help you identify the right solutions for your needs – simply get in touch.

Get in touch


Protecting workplace assets | A summary

Once you can be sure your workforce and the building itself are protected, workplace assets are next on the list. As this article has explored, this term covers everything from stock and goods to machinery and equipment. Therefore, it’s essential to look at the right levels of protection you need throughout your site to ensure that production isn’t halted or reduced in the event of an accident and that your valuable stock is protected to ensure you can fulfil customer orders. Through research and insights from various manufacturers, you can arm yourself with the information you need to make an informed decision.

At A-SAFE, we can help with all your asset protection needs. Our range of flexible polymer protection provides low-maintenance and long-lasting defence from site vehicles and other unwanted impacts. Call us on (443) 776-3472, email us at [email protected] or use the contact form below to find out how we can help you.


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