If your business has a sizeable inventory made up of bulk materials, storing everything correctly is absolutely imperative for a number of reasons.
Along with knowing where specific items are located for greater efficiency, you also need to ensure that members of staff remain safe no matter what. This is especially true for dangerous or hazardous materials, which typically must abide by operational health and safety protocol.
Here are three top tips for storing bulk materials property, from whether you should stack items to why certain structures are better suited than others.
To stack or not to stack?
No matter whether they’re stored in boxes or barrels, several bulk materials are stacked up high in a warehouse facility. When done correctly, for example when the structure is stable and not too tall, stacking is relatively safe.
However, this isn’t always the most practical way to store bulk materials from a space perspective. What’s more, OSHA says ‘stacking materials can be dangerous if workers do not follow safety guidelines. Falling materials and collapsing loads can crush or pin workers’.
If your only option is to stack inventory, make sure you do so correctly. Also, take the time to properly train your staff so that materials are stored safely and do not pose a risk to their well-being.
Create optimal conditions for storage
It might come as a surprise to hear that your choice of storage facility could impact the lifespan of your inventory. Did you know that the US spends more than $218 billion growing, processing, transporting and disposing food that’s never eaten? This often comes down to spoilage while in storage.
Therefore, it pays to ensure that your storage facility meets the unique needs of your inventory, be it via temperature control, protection from the weather or another important variable.
One example of the correct structure for a particular product is SteelMaster’s salt storage solution, which offers superior corrosion resistance to the elements with a durable, environmentally conscious, and cost effective arch-style building. SteelMaster has even worked with several state transportation departments across the United States including Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
Understand how and why accidents happen
Every year, hundreds if not thousands of individuals suffer severe or fatal injuries in bulk storage and handing facilities. Despite the fact this only represents a small percentage of accidents reported by OSHA, they often receive more press and are easily avoidable.
One of the most proactive approaches you can take is to understand how and why accidents at similar facilities to your own happen in the first place. This will help you come up with a plan of action that mitigates common risks before the worst case scenario occurs.
“Improving the situation starts with more education of the dangers involved in the storage, handling, and processing of bulk solids,” said John Carson, Chairman of the Board for bulk material engineering firm Jenike & Johanson. “This is a huge undertaking given that owners, operators, workers, contractors, designers, repair crews, and trucking firms all need to be educated.”