Warehouse spills should be anticipated and prevented whenever possible. But even the most careful warehouse manager or operator can have a spill happen on their watch. Specific advice about what to do in the middle of a spill will ultimately depend on what you spilled. But there are some general things to keep in mind after a spill has occurred that can help you clean up and prevent the next one.
Steps to Take After a Spill
- Assess What Happened: Determining the cause of a spill is important to determine the cause and rectify the issue before it occurs again, but also so that you can determine what you need to take into account during clean up. What was spilled? Where was it spilled? Why was it spilled? All of these questions can help you to assess what needs to be cleaned up in the facility.
- Think about where you forgot to clean: It’s easy to remember to clean the floor surface after a spill. But have you thought about where else you need to clean? If you spilled a liquid, this could have splashed onto warehouse racking, product, or a lift’s forks. These are definitely safety hazards that can cause slipping of materials when they’re being handled. If you spilled something that scattered, be sure to check under racks and other warehouse storage systems. Loose materials are slipping hazards for both associates and forklifts.
- Be Proactive: I know. It’s really not helpful to say “well, in hindsight, you should have….” I can’t stand the guy who says that. That guy is a jerk. But in this case, one of the best ways to prevent the next spill is to learn from the current spill and be proactive. Make sure you have clean up stations with all the proper cleaning solutions, signage, and PPE available for associates to clean the area. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) must be available and accessible for reference. If you’re working with hazardous materials, make sure you have protocols in place in case you have a spill.
- Recertify Operators: After a near miss or accident, have operators recertify (it’s actually an OSHA requirement).This will mean that they need to train again on proper operating procedures to help prevent possible spills in the future.