Any good warehouse manager will do everything they can to prevent accidents in the workplace – but every good manager will also be prepared for any potential situation that can arise.

Even after doing everything you can to prevent accidents and mitigate damage and injury, there’s always the tragic chance that an accident can affect your workers, your inventory, or even the warehouse building itself.

In the event of these accidents, care needs to be taken to make sure the impact on business is minimal and everything can go back to normal as fast as possible. By laying down strong contingency plans and immediately knowing what to do in any given situation, you can help reduce downtime and get things back to normal more quickly than if you came in totally unprepared.

Here’s a few ways we’ve found to help mitigate the damage and loss following a warehouse accident, and what they can do to help get things back to normal:

 

Establish an accident response team:

The first thing to do when planning for emergency recovery is to set up an accident response team that can be notified of any damage, accident, or emergency. Establish a chain of command to determine who needs to be informed of accidents (shift leaders, warehouse owners/management, workers on the floor, etc) and make sure their contact information is immediately accessible by everyone to spread the message in the event of an accident or injury.

 

Enforce security around the accident site:

Except in the case of really minor accidents and mishaps, an important first step is to maintain security around the site of the accident to prevent further injury or damage. Keep security tight around the accident scene and make sure only qualified, authorized personnel are allowed in during inspection and recovery.

 

Take stock of any affected workers:

Even if everyone manages to escape uninjured from the accident, your workers can be affected by the accident by being unable to return to work in their designated areas. Track down what workers were working in the area affected by the accident and take steps to temporarily re-assign them somewhere else to keep them working while the warehouse recovers.

 

Relocate undamaged products:

During cleanup of the accident site, you may be able to find products that are salvageable enough to sell or trade in like normal. Once the accident site is safe enough to comb through, take all of your recoverable items and store them on wire shelving or pallet racks that have the space to store them, and keep selling them like normal.

 

Ensure all documentation meets OSHA criteria:

OSHA has strict guidelines for reporting on an accident in the workplace, no matter how minor it may seem to be at first. To prevent potential legal issues, make sure that all accident reports are filled out as per OSHA’s standards and are easily accessible to all workers – even if this means potentially uncovering OSHA violations that led to the accident.

 

Perform after-action reviews on all accidents:

One of the most valuable things you can take away from a workplace accident is the knowledge of what caused the accident, and what you can do to prevent it going forward. Review the actions that led up to the accident occurring, take stock of what went wrong and why, and hold staff meetings to share what you’ve learned to prevent it from happening again.

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