Most “Business 101” courses and textbooks focus heavily on the 4 P’s of success: product, price, promotion and place. And while these obviously matter a great deal, there’s another aspect that needs to be part of the success equation: warehouse safety and security. Here are five tips to keep in mind:
1. Clearly Mark Boundaries
If possible, use physical barriers to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing warehouse areas. Also ensure that you put up ample warehouse signs that clearly mark restricted areas, and warn employees about unauthorized entry.
2. Use Surveillance
Your warehouse surveillance should include motion sensor lights and closed circuit video. If it is financially feasible, hire a security guard for nights and weekends. The mere existence of a security guard is often enough to dissuade burglars, including employees (employee theft is responsible for a whopping $60 billion in losses each year).
3. Track Access
Require that all visitors (e.g. suppliers, vendors, trades, officials, etc.) sign-in before being granted access to your warehouse. In addition to their name, they should disclose their company, time of visit, date of visit, and purpose of visit. Of course, you should also verify that they actually need to enter the warehouse in the first place, or if the employee they wish to meet with can be called to the main office, etc.
4. Keep Things Clean
A surprising number of warehouse injuries are the result of mess, clutter and disorganization — such as materials and tools that are not properly stored after use, overflowing garbage bins that spill liquid on the floor, and so on. Inspect and clean your warehouse on a daily basis, and make tidiness part of everyone’s job — not just because it creates a neat and tidy work environment, but even more importantly, because it helps prevent accidents and injuries.
5. Provide Ongoing Staff Training
Whether they operate machinery, lift boxes or check orders, all warehouse staff — regardless of role or job description — should receive appropriate, ongoing health and safety training. And remember, the advantages of a safe warehouse go beyond protecting workers. As noted by Reliableplant.com: “when a safe environment is maintained, many benefits can be realized, such as increased worker loyalty, reduced costs, improved quality, etc.”
The Bottom Line
A safe and secure warehouse is not a “set it and forget it” thing. It is a resource-based commitment that businesses must make in order to protect their people and safeguard their assets. The tips noted above can help you achieve both of these critical goals.