Warehouses in North America suffer about $500,000 in losses every 11 days due to unforeseen risks. Across the world, issues such as employee theft, product damage, and more cost retailers and wholesalers billions of dollars every year.
When operations include the use of warehouses, it is important to consider all associated potential risks. Risk managers must lessen the likelihood of incidents and reduce the severity when they do take place. Otherwise, the warehouse could be vulnerable to significant losses that can have a serious impact on organizational performance. Here are the top 7 tips for warehouse risk management you should be looking at.
Warehouses are usually large spaces tightly packed with stored goods – meaning even a small fire can be devastating. Aside from the obvious issues of product damage from the flames and heat, there may be smoke damage, employee injury, or forced relocation to a new warehouse.
Organizations should implement well-functioning evacuation procedures that are fully documented, shared publicly, and practiced on a regular basis. They should also install fire suppression systems, install and regularly inspect fire detection systems, ensure building is up to code, and train employees to identify fire hazards and practice fire safety.
Flooding is a common warehouse risk, particularly in areas prone to natural disasters and high water levels. A high percentage of inventory stored in warehouses is susceptible to water damage. Flooding can also damage the warehouse building itself.
Due to a high volume of inventory, warehouses and distribution centers are often at high risk for burglary and theft, especially if inventory is high-value. Security risks come from both internal and external parties. Internal threats are posed by employees and third parties hired by the organization, while external threats would involve anyone else who enters the warehouse without authorization.
Handling of Environmentally Hazardous Substances
All organizations have a responsibility to ensure that they’re handling environmentally hazardous substances correctly. You’ll need to ensure that any warehouses are following the proper laws and regulations for dealing with hazardous substances.
Some key best practices to follow include: storing all hazardous substances correctly, segregating substances when required, having emergency plans in place, making sure you have the right safety equipment, disposing of hazardous waste in accordance with the law, and more.
Working in a warehouse creates many potential safety issues for employees. When something goes wrong, organizations can be liable. You’ll want to follow these guidelines to ensure employee safety at all times:
- Take advantage of machinery wherever possible to avoid repetitive strain or manual labor related injuries.
- Train employees on the safe way to use all job-related machinery and equipment.
- Keep an eye out for hazards that will cause slips, trips, and falls.
- Encourage employees to report any hazard they identify or when they see an incident.
Aside from damages from fire, flood, and the like, warehouse inventory can be damaged from simply sitting in the facility. That’s why certain precautions should be taken by warehouse staff to keep inventory in optimal condition. All items should be handled with as much care as possible, limiting unnecessary movement. There should be proper storage based on the type of material being stored. Employees should be trained based on the type of inventory they’re working with.
Warehouses today rely on a lot of equipment and machinery to make them run smoothly. A single issue can cause a lot of difficulty, so prevention is key! Only allow properly trained or certified employees to operate machinery and renew training on a regular basis. For computer systems, be aware of cyber risks and take precautions – consider switching to cloud-based software to eliminate the chance of fire or flood damage to records.
Effective incident management is crucial in identifying hazards and predicting potential losses in warehouses. By tracking near-miss incidents related to the concerns above, organizations can uncover high-risk areas to build their risk management plan around.
Are you ready to work on your warehouse risk management? Call Assured Protection today!
Assured Protection provides customized security in a multitude of different fashions – all tailored to fit the needs of the client. In our business, one size does not fit all. We manage our personnel and make responsiveness to our client the number one goal. Day or night, you’ll know that Assured Protection is on the job and keeping you and your property secure. To learn more, give us a call at (443) 281-8391.