Safety and Security in the Warehouse


Although the storehouse of an organization is used in storing materials and components, hence need to provide their security, it also has stores personnel who performs various functions there in. It is therefore important not only to protect materials from theft, but also to ensure that the employees are also safe. Security and safety therefore in the storehouse entails;

  1. Protection of goods from damage (security)
  2. Protection of stores personnel from harm (health and safety).

These two aspects are covered by ensuring that the store is highly, secured, safe for working and health standards are high.

How to ensure security of materials in the storehouse

Considerable amount of organization’s capital is held in materials stored in the store. The stores manager is therefore responsible in ensuring that materials are secured by through the following ways.

 1. Development of a security policy

A uniform security policy should be put in place and should include the following points:

  1. Appointment of a senior manager with overall responsibility for security.
  2. Allocation of reasonable budget to cover the cost of security
  3. Consistent enforcement of the stated company penalties for theft from the shop floor to the manager.
  4. Regular discussions at managerial level regarding security.

2. Custody of Keys

The following rules should be observed

  1. All keys should be numbered for easy identification.
  2. All keys should be kept in a central point
  3. Individual stores staff should be made responsible for certain keys.
  4. Keys taken from the central point should be signed out.
  5. The number of duplicate keys must be kept to a minimum to ensure adequate control

 3. Control of entry into stores area

No unauthorized personnel should be allowed to enter the stores area. It should be fenced with electric fences, and monitored by CCTV cameras 24 hours seven days a week. There should be always security personnel inspecting people coming in and going out.

4. Marking of stock

Certain materials can be marked in some way to identify their ownership and origin. This applies mostly to equipment or items of high value. There are two reasons for marking stock;

  • It discourages theft
  • If the stock is stolen and recovered it will be easy to identify the owner.

Marking of stock can be done in various ways i.e.

  • Colour marking by paint or dye.
  • Trade marks. Trade mark and company’s name can be embossed on the item.
  • Dye marking. If the item is touched by hand the dye will be transferred on to the hands of the thief.
  • Giving of serial numbers to all items.

 5. Fire precautions

The following precautions can be taken to prevent fire;

  1. Fire fighting equipment must be placed in strategic positions. The following are some of the firefighting equipment;
    • Fire extinguishers
    • Horse reels. They are linked to a large tank of the main supply of water.
    • Sprinkler systems. They are controlled by smoke or heat. When smoke or heat is high, then they start sprinkling the area.
    • b) Fire blankets. Used for small fires. They are made of fireproof fabric.
    • Fire buckets. They are used for smack fires. Buckets are filled with sand.
  2. No smoking signs must be placed in all parts of the store.
  3. Organizing fire drills so that the staff are trained /given instructions on what to do in case of fire.
  4. Regular inspection by the local fire brigade’s prevention officer will help to ensure safe and efficient system.
  5. Installation of fire doors and emergency exits.
  6. Use of fireproof building materials

6.  Segregation of high risk materials

High risk materials such as petrol, oils chemicals, explosives, spirits etc can be kept in a store usually designed for that purpose.

Advantages of segregation of high risk materials

  • Expensive firefighting equipment can be concentrated in those areas.
  • In case of fire in the main store it will not be able to reach the high risk store
  • Fires in the high risk store can be left to burn themselves out if need be.
  • Concentration of efforts to prevent fires in small high risk store will benefit the whole operation in terms of overall fire risks.

 7. Knowledge of materials

The following are reasons why storekeepers must have knowledge of materials.

  • Application of materials issued will often be guided by the advice of storekeeper. He should therefore have knowledge on the usage of materials.
  • To understand the correct methods and equipments of handling certain items to minimize damage.
  • For thorough inspection of materials.
  • To minimize explosion or contamination during the process of handling storage of materials.

 8. Prevention of deterioration

This occurs when materials loose part of their value or totally become useless. Factors that cause deterioration in the store include:

  • Poor storage areas that allow damp to enter through broken windows, leaking roofs and doors.
  • Failure to follow supplier storage instructions.
  • Poor handling.
  • Contamination of materials in the store e.g storage of oil drums alongside foodstuffs.
  • Failure to follow stock rotation code and therefore allowing old stock to be left unused while newer stock is used.

Prevention of stock deterioration

  • Ensure that all storage facilities are clean and damp free.
  • Follow supplier’s instructions.
  • Conditions of temperatures and humidity are correct for the goods being stored.
  • Proper handling methods and equipment.
  • Supervision of all storage and handling of materials by trained and experienced staff reduces the risk of bad storage or fault handling.

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