An emergency can strike your warehouse operation at any time and without warning. Given this reality, it is highly irresponsible for warehouse management not to be prepared for emergencies.
Emergency preparedness typically doesn’t require massive investments of time and resources. It simply calls for a bit of thought and planning as well as a commitment to regular training.
Consider the following five tips on how to prepare your warehouse for emergencies.
1) Embrace reality
As noted above, an emergency of some kind will likely strike your warehouse. It is critical to embrace this reality and even expect it.
Rather than being in denial, your warehouse staff should be actively thinking about possible emergency situations and how to deal with them. What if there was a flood in an area containing sensitive electronics? What if a blizzard slammed the area? What if hazardous materials were spilled on the floor of your warehouse?
Once you have identified these and other possible emergencies, you can start thinking about how to respond.
2) Develop a plan
An emergency preparedness program should cover specific steps management and staff members must take to keep workers safe during emergency situations. Putting together an emergency plan is a solid approach to protect both people and property.
A thorough emergency plan should take care of all kinds of issues particular to your warehouse, and planning ought to include both the management team and staff members. The commitment of everybody involved is essential to the plan’s success.
3) Develop a training program
Any plan must include the regular training of workers on the various kinds of emergencies that may happen and the best courses of action. The size of your warehouse and workforce, various processes involved, materials handled, and available resources will shape your training needs. Make certain all your staff members know the key elements of your plan, including possible emergencies, reporting processes, alarm systems, evacuation procedures and shutdown responsibilities. Consider any unique hazards like flammable, toxic, radioactive or water-volatile materials.
4) Obtain necessary emergency equipment
Your workers may need special personal protective equipment (PPE) during an emergency. The PPE you keep should be relevant to the possible emergency situation. Evaluate your warehouse to find possible hazards and the suitable equipment for those hazards. Emergency PPE may include protective eyewear, respirators and chemical suits.
5) Coordinate with outside organizations
Although there is no particular OSHA requirement for it, it is useful to coordinate your planning with outside organizations, such as other companies in your building or first responder agencies. This can ensure the efficacy of your plan and gets everyone on the same page.
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