Warehouses are the foremost structures in storage facilities. These buildings house large quantities of products and are indispensable for businesses that require places sound storage. Keeping products safe from damage and deterioration is the primary purpose of a warehouse.
Given that your inventory represents your company’s capital, it’s only logical to store them somewhere safe. But are warehouses really as safe as you need them to be? As it turns out, warehouses could be dangerous to your merchandise and to the diligent employees who work in them.
According to a report published by the National Fire Association, between 2009 and 2013, fire departments across the United States responded to approximately 1,210 warehouses fires every year. The total number of conflagrations in warehouse structures totals to about 6,000 fires in that five-year period, which is alarming considering only more than 7,000 warehouses are in the United States. Although warehouse fires have been steadily decreasing since the 1980s, these disasters remain as destructive as ever.
The study continued by stating that those warehouse fires cost a yearly average of $155 million in direct damage to property. That number represents terrible losses for businesses that put their faith in these storage facilities, only to have their products reduced to cinders.
Analysis of the thousands of reports revealed that 32 percent of the fires were set intentionally, although the report doesn’t divulge the reasons behind them. Sabotage, insurance fraud, or arson are all possible motivations behind these destructive ignitions. Fires that originated from electrical and lighting devices represented 17 percent, which raises all sorts of questions about the safety of these facilities. Such incidents could be one of the reasons that savvier businesses are using dropshipping retail solutions rather than keeping their inventory in warehouses.
But warehouse hazards and disasters don’t just threaten your products; warehouse employees encounter many dangers during their work hours.
Warehouse Workers Beware
About 150,000 people work in warehouses in the country, and their work environment is rife with hazards that can be dangerous to the unwary.
These buildings are full of structures and objects that become tripping and falling hazards if they are not in their proper locations. Because of the quantity of items a single warehouse keeps, debris can easily make their way to the floors and walkways, where an unfortunate employee can stumble on them.
The very objects that warehouses are supposed to keep safe can be dangerous to its employees. Shoddy storage methods make high shelves or stacks of boxes and pallets drop on passing workers. A box of stuffed animals would be more annoying than harmful, but heavier objects may be fatal to the unfortunate.
Forklifts are a necessity in warehouses since they are the most efficient way to transport multiple items from one end to the other. But they’re also one of the dangerous pieces of equipment on-site. Forklifts can pin and crush employees if their operators are not trained. These vehicles can also overturn and harm the operator. Forklift mishaps, though, are more likely to happen in the loading docks than in any other part of a warehouse.
Numerous safety codes and guidelines exist precisely because these hazards and accidents are so common in warehouses. If you’d rather not gamble your products and your business on the safety protocols of a warehouse, you can seek alternative business strategies that eliminate the need for them altogether. Until such time, you can only hope that your warehouse remains undamaged and unburnt.