Ensuring Warehouse Safety: A Vital Guide to Emergency Preparedness

In today's world, many types of emergencies and threats can impede operations, damage inventory, and harm employees. An emergency preparedness plan is crucial in helping to ensure your warehouse is safe and your employees are prepared to deal with natural disasters and facility hazards.


Preparing for the Unexpected


Your warehouse operations deserve a clear and preplanned readiness strategy for unexpected occurrences. It happens. An accident, inclement weather, natural disaster. Any one of them can disrupt our lives and livelihoods. And we all know if warehouse operations cease, business will grind to a halt. In our ongoing series on warehouse safety, we look at how to best prepare for emergencies that can negatively impact your warehouse and what types of preparedness in disaster management you can do now to avoid and mediate these events.


Prepare Your Facility and Your Team


Dealing with natural emergencies is an essential part of preparation and recovery. Get a head start on what to do and how to do it before something happens. In advance, remember to create a plan, prepare, and stock up. Regularly communicate and refresh that plan with your co-workers so everyone is on the same page. We don't always get to align on what to do when a disaster strikes. It's important that all employees are familiar with emergency responses and how to operate your emergency preparedness solutions. And stay informed, always check in with local agencies, they are your best asset in being in the know. You may also want to look at the hospitality industry for cues in emergency preparedness, as they not only have their facilities to account for but also guests’ safety (and satisfaction).


Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have an emergency preparedness plan created and communicated?
  • Do you have first aid kits available at key locations?
  • Are your employees protected from harm with a survival bag and kit?
  • Have you effectively safeguarded your facility from the inherent dangers in your region?
  • Have you checked your supplies recently? Now is the best time to take account of what you have and what you don’t. Batteries can expire, tools can get misplaced, and safety signals may be buried in the back of a closet.


Emergency Preparedness

Now is the best time to take account of what you have and what you don’t.

Batteries can expire, tools can get misplaced, and safety signals may be buried in the back of a closet.


Types of Emergencies


Natural emergencies vary depending on where you’re located, but a few are unfortunately universal in how they impact warehouse operations. Wind damage, snow (and it’s associated consequences), and flooding which can all lead to power outages and lost time at work, are all unfortunately common. Looking at flooding, for example, can happen anywhere at any time. The threat of water damage is very real, whether because of a faulty pipe you need spill control measures, or a heavy rain and you need more substantial water deterrence and clean up. And let’s be honest, power does go down normally in floods. So where do you begin?


What Regional Issues Do You Face?


While there may be unique issues to your region or location (low lying areas for example), backup generators are crucial no matter where your warehouse is located. If you’re in a region with heavy snow, ice melt, snowblowers, and survival kits are a must-have.


Communication may even go down in the event of a bad storm, hurricane, or faulty cellphone signal. Keeping two-way radios and cordless radios on hand is smart and will help keep your employees safe. Hurricanes can be treacherous, and being prepared now can significantly ensure your business and workers have what they need to stay safe and limit any stop time.  


Emergency Preparedness


Flood Preparedness


If you’re in a region that experiences hurricanes or severe flooding, sandbags, water rations, and emergency food should be at the ready and make up your best survival food kits. Emergency preparedness kits in heavy flood zones can immensely benefit from spill kits, berms, and stormwater management. Collapsible walls and containment berms can save lives and avoid unnecessary facility and product damage as can indoor and outdoor flood barriers.


Facility Preparation


Any kind of natural disaster can kickstart a series of events that can permanently damage your facility. Disaster preparedness kits can fortify your warehouse quickly. Extra Storage and shelving units can be essential in creating makeshift staging zones if a burst pipe or equipment failure is in danger of damaging inventory. Both portable and standby generators are survival kit essentials. Leak diverters, tarps and sheeting, and detectors are crucial mitigation strategies and best emergency preparedness kit practices to warn of possible gas leaks or other dangerous threats.


Employee Protection


Survival kits save lives. They also prevent injuries and help absences at work. Flashlights, whistles, and portable first aid kits should be present throughout your facility. And because anything can always happen, gloves, traction spikes, and PPE should make up any survival bag list you’re putting together. 


Global Industrial Is Your #1 Emergency Preparedness Partner 


Global Industrial has many solutions to help you plan and prepare for the unexpected. Connect with one of our Global Industrial representatives at 888.978.7759 to discuss the best approach for protecting your warehouse and your business. You can also contact us here for help preparing for emergencies.


The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.


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