Warehouses are the heart of any supply chain. As indispensable as a warehouse is for any business, a lapse in judgment can lead to devastations and nerve-wrecking accidents. With safety being the buzzword of 2020, it is time to reflect upon how safe India’s warehouses are, in today’s time. In this feature, we explore the top warehouse safety practices, pearls of wisdom by the industry experts and how to beef up security at warehouses by following the latest technology trends.
Warehouses within the supply chain are like the heart of the body – it is the sine qua non that is solely responsible for the needs of the rest of the departments within the business. However, its own needs to operate properly are seldom considered as important and are often overlooked. Running a safe and secure warehouse cuts down the risk for occupational, on the job injuries —and of course, its never-ending list of dangers and costs involved.
It would also lead to lesser hindrances and obstructions along the workflow pipeline, less equipment downtime due to faulty operations and lack of knowledge and a positive work environment that pays heed and priority to employee safety and well-being. The tragedy at Beirut Port is a sad yet eye-opening account of how tragic the repercussions of an unsafe warehouse can be.
But how well are these tenets adhered to and implemented?
Primary concerns in terms of warehouse safety and security
From traditional brick and mortar storage spaces or “godowns”, to highly advanced technology-driven state-of-the-art infrastructure, Indian warehouses have surely come a long way in keeping up with the evolution of the industry. However, safety and security compliance today holds more importance and concern, with employee safety, proper equipment handling and heightened security measures topping the list of primary concerns that throngs warehouses today.
The topic of employee safety has witnessed an upsurge in recent times. The importance of employee safety and security cannot be felt more, especially in the present times. A well drawn-out and implemented employee safety plan also has numerous benefits for the company. The safer employees are at work, the more productive they turn out to be, and this leads to a win-win situation for both the staff and the firm.
Warehouses are a buzzing scene replete with use of heavy machinery for its day-to-day activities. For ensuring a perfect man and machine collaboration, ensuring perfect working condition of the equipment is of utmost necessity.
“Safety is not only about being socially responsible, but it also makes good business sense.”~ Mr V. Raju – Senior Vice President – Contract Logistics, Avvashya CCI Logistics Private Limited
“The safer the employees are at work, the more productive they are and this benefits the overall financial health of the firm. Saying so, it is no different for the warehousing industry. As part of adherence with the best practices, necessary safety equipment should be installed at all warehouse. Similarly, for the lifting of heavy items, it needs to be ensured that forklifts and hydraulic dollies are in proper functioning condition and safe to use,” Mr Raju said.
Emergency Provisions at Warehouses
While underlining the importance of calling attention to the Emergency provisions at warehouses, Mr Raju also talks about the in-house ground rules that can be implemented at any warehouse to ward off serious hazards or untoward incidents.
“Fire extinguishers, sprinklers and fire exits should never be blocked. Warehousing players will need to establish clear guidelines to govern the safe storage of hazardous material (hazmat). The implementation of Globally Harmonized System (GHS) in warehouses will ensure suitable labelling and packaging of goods. One thing we always ensure is that specific areas are designated and segregated for the unloading of combustible and chemical materials following their transportation to warehouses.”
Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt Ltd while addressing key issues that concern a warehouse feels that the primary safety and security concerns of a warehouse that are usually located at outskirts of a town or city, are related to burglary, theft, pilferage, vandalism, flooding, hurricane, earthquake, fire and accidents.
“The security risks come from both internal and external parties. Internal threats are posed by warehouse workers, materials and goods stored and third parties hired by the organization, while external threats would involve anyone else who enters the warehouse without authorization. It is important to consider all associated potential risks while preparing an effective risk mitigation plan. This can be achieved by a comprehensive safety and security guidelines.”~ Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt. Ltd
Asim Behera, COO – Intralogistics, Daifuku India Private Limited throws light on the primary concerns of Safety and security by drawing the lines between the two terms.
“A few developers are building modern warehouses. By modern I mean they are considering fire safety, floor levelness, safe working aisle width etc. However, the biggest challenge is not every customer is willing to pay for all this additional cost. Most look for the best deal available, wherein in such a scenario many other warehouse providers skim on the aspects I mentioned earlier to offer a better deal. Such shortcuts should something go wrong can prove expensive.”~ Asim Behera, COO – Intralogistics, Daifuku India Private Limited
“Warehouse Security, I understand, is to deal with the security of the items being stored. If so, this is managed fairly well through security guards, CCTV, random inspections etc”, he shares.
Best practices for a robust Warehouse Security Compliance
“Operating a warehouse is a mission-critical endeavour”, shares Mr Dhakan. “For securing warehouses, it’s critical to ensure the security of three main assets: Property, People and Data. The best practices to secure property include Intrusion Alarms, Video Surveillance, Access Control and Perimeter Security Systems. Video monitoring and motion sensor lights near the entry and exit points, as well as areas with high-value goods, helps. Secure all the doors and windows of the warehouse. Monitor all delivery points and protect the inventory through Video Surveillance, Intrusion Alarm and Perimeter Solutions.”
Need of a governing body
Mr Dhakan believes that a governing body needs to be created which can issue directives and then audit warehouse safety standards. “It must be made mandatory that all warehouse operators need to comply with its guidelines not only when it starts but periodically just like how it’s done for elevators”, he writes.
This is an abridged version of the original story that appeared in the September issue of the Logistics Insider magazine. Click here to read the complete and unedited story.