Warehouse Security and our approach to Dangerous Goods Warehousing

A large explosion and fire destroyed the Ming Dih Chemical factory compound that had been producing plastic foam and pellets in Tambon, Rachatewa, causing extensive damage to the surrounding communities, earlier this month in July 2021.

The compound itself was made up of six warehouses where over 50 tonnes of chemicals were being stored. At 2:50am on a Monday morning, the fire that followed the explosion went onto consume the entire compound—causing damage to homes and buildings within a one-kilometre radius.

This terrible disaster saw twenty-one people confirmed injured. Which begs the question: could more have been done to prevent it? And more importantly: are the health & safety standards in your warehouse as airtight as can be?

Streamlining warehouse security is one the most fundamental challenges that business owners and warehouse managers face when it comes to providing a safe environment for their workers. With so much heavy-machinery, various chemicals, advanced electrical systems, and all manner of other high-risk activities taking place each day in a typical warehouse or factory—accidents are practically unavoidable.

That being said: if your warehouse has been built from the ground up with well-optimised infrastructure, and strategically situated alarm systems—each of them designed and intended for lighting-speed response—, then you can keep accidental injury to an absolute minimum.

Setting International Standards in the Handling of Dangerous Goods in Warehousing: Frasers Property Industrial (Thailand)

At Frasers Property Industrial (Thailand), we design and build only the finest quality warehouses, setting international-standards and delivering comprehensive solutions to our valued clients.

From well-equipped Fire Protection Systems, the highest engineering standards, and total compliance with local regulations, to all of our warehouses being located in strategic locations for the fastest possible emergency response times; we plan and account for every potential risk.

In addition to that, we ensure that emergency exits, fire escapes, and fire hose cabinets are carefully placed at intervals of at least every 60 metres—including fire pumps which conform to the Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection (NFPA20), each providing more than enough stopping power to suppress fires in such an event.

There are also smoke detectors installed throughout our warehouses, coupled with alarm systems that will alert everyone onsite the moment that a fire is detected.

Of course, it’s not just about having extensive safety and security systems in place which is important; All of our warehouses are built on a solid foundation with the most durable structure, providing additional protection from any fire accidents which may occur.

Not only are there plenty of fire escape stairs, but each of our warehouses is designed with easy and practical access to the roof, providing the ability to cross over and find other means of exit, thus reducing the risk of accident even further.

Here at Frasers Property Industrial (Thailand), we have a wealth of experience when operating warehouses, anticipating and understanding our customers’ needs, and delivering high-value experiences to all. We do so with our best-in-class warehouses, each guaranteed by international-level safety standards, whilst ensuring the swift prevention of any unforeseen fire accidents from both inside and outside the building.

Our Dangerous Goods Warehouses (DG Warehouses) Boast the Highest Standards

DG Warehouse is the term which refers to a type of warehouse that is specifically ideal for the storing of dangerous goods which pose a risk to health & safety (e.g., chemical goods, fuels, toxic substances, and other hazardous materials with explosive potential).

These types of dangerous goods tend to be components of the materials required in various industrial productions such as the automotive industry, electronic parts and appliances, and chemical & petroleum products.

They also require the proper classification of hazardous substances and demand the appropriate storage in order to sufficiently minimise the number of risks which can lead to disaster (e.g., a warehouse fire). As such, all of our DG Warehouses are designed to specifically store such dangerous goods according to the principles and standards of the Hazardous Substance Storage Act.

In fact, at Frasers Property Industrial (Thailand), we take great pride in managing and developing Dangerous Goods Warehouses at international standards. We also pride ourselves in providing dedicated teams of professionals who offer sound industry advice and close consultation when it comes to minding such potentially dangerous goods in a warehouse environment.

With precision and careful consideration, we provide an environment in which are valued tenants can go through every step of their product storage with complete confidence. To us, there is nothing more important than the health, safety, and morale of your warehouse workers.

Warehouse Risk Management

1 – Fire

Being large spaces which are generally packed tightly with stored goods, even the smallest fire in a warehouse can be devastating. There are a number of effective methods which can help to mitigate such risk:

  • Fire suppression systems (e.g., sprinklers, fire doors, and fire extinguishers).
  • Regularly inspected fire detection systems (i.e., smoke alarms).
  • Well-optimised buildings which are up to code.
  • Highly trained employees who practice fire safety and can easily identify potential hazards.
  • Streamlined and efficient evacuation procedures.

2 – Flooding

Flooding is another common warehouse risk, particularly for those located in areas that are prone to natural disasters and high water levels. The majority of inventory kept in a warehouse will be susceptible to water damage. Here are the necessary steps for reducing the impact of flood and water damage:

  • Be informed of any flood warnings in the area.
  • Regularly conduct flood risk assessments and inspections, allowing you to identify any areas in which goods may be particularly susceptible to flood damage.
  • Ensure that all goods are elevated off the floor, using high-level shelving and sealed containers where possible.
  • Routinely clean out external and internal drains to ensure that no debris and other trapped waste might cause disaster.
  • Consider sealing floors, doors, windows, and other openings.
  • All electrical sockets and wiring should be kept well-above ground level.
  • Train employees to easily recognise and report any potential flooding hazards.
  • Have water pumps present as a back-up system in the event of a flood.

3 – Security

As they have high volume inventory, warehouses are a prize target for theft and burglary. As such, security risks can come from both internal and external parties. Consider the following for reduced risk:

  • Ensure that the facility boundaries are airtight and well-maintained.
  • Secure all exits with alarm systems.
  • Adopt visitor sign-in registers.
  • Install electronic security and surveillance systems.
  • Carry out employee checks.

4 – Handling Environmentally Hazardous Substances

Any organisation that is responsible for handling environmentally hazardous substances are bound to do so correctly. Your warehouse must be following the appropriate laws and meeting regulations. The following are key practices to keep in mind:

  • All hazardous substances must be stored correctly.
  • Ensure that all such substances are labelled properly.
  • Always segregate certain substances when necessary.
  • Ensure that correct procedures are followed when dispensing hazardous materials.
  • Any exposures must be isolated with ventilators are the source.
  • See to it that all employees wear the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) at all times.
  • Have emergency procedures established and in place.
  • All hazardous waste much be disposed of appropriately and in accordance with the law.
  • Regular safety inspections must be carried out to ensure that all proper safeguards are in place and functioning as intended.

5 – Employee Health & Safety

Warehouse workers are surrounded by many potential hazards on a daily basis. Not only does this put them at risk, but it makes you financially viable in the worst case scenario. As such, you must follow the proper guidelines to ensure their safety at all times:

  • Avoid repetitive strain and manual labour related injuries with proper machinery (e.g., forklifts).
  • Ensure all employees are thoroughly trained on the safe use of all job-related machinery and equipment.
  • Encourage your employees to step forward immediately and report any potential hazards as and when they identify them.
  • Always conduct regular risk assessments.

6 – Product Damage

It’s not just fire and flood that can cause damage to warehouse inventory. Thus, your warehouse staff must be aware of the following:

  • Proper storage techniques are carried out consistently (paying close attention to temperature / the amount of weight placed on top of certain items).
  • All items must be handled with care, limiting unnecessary movements.
  • Heavier items must always be stacked on the bottom shelves.
  • Employees must be well-trained when it comes to the proper manual handling of all material types.
  • Introduce security measures to limit any chance of sabotage.
  • Review product damage claim reports on a regular basis in order to implement corrective actions and/or identify any trends.

7 – Equipment Failure

Today, warehouses rely on a great deal of equipment and heavy machinery in order to facilitate as smooth an operation as possible. All it takes is one issue to bring an otherwise ‘well-oiled machine’ grinding to a halt. Here are some further prevention tips:

  • Ensure that only employees who are properly certified and trained to operate dangerous machinery.
  • Be wary of the growing number of cyber-security risks and ensure that your IT systems are adequately secure.
  • You should almost certainly switch to cloud-based storage solutions when it comes to computing; thus eliminating any risk of losing vital data and information in the event of a disaster.

Today, effective incident management is fundamental. Identifying hazards and predicting potential losses in warehouses is absolutely crucial in maintaining the highest possible safety standards. Even reporting near-misses can help to identify trends allowing organisations to significantly lower the likelihood (and impact) of losses. Not only will this drive insurance premium costs down, but it will also make the working environment far safer for both employees and visitors alike—which is of course, crucial.

Reference: https://www.ilo.org/dyn/legosh/en/f?p=14100:1100:0::NO::P1100_ISO_CODE3,P1100_YEAR:THA,2014