Warehouse Emergencies: Be Prepared

19535051 - large and tall full warehouse full of boxes and goodsWe did a series of articles in honor of National Safety Council’s designation of June as National Safety Month. This featured several aspects of safety. The month kicked off with emergency preparedness, which includes severe weather (we wrote this about it.) The topic covers much more than that, though, and as a warehouse manager, it’s important you have a complete understanding of it.


It should be obvious that an emergency plan is beneficial because you care about the wellbeing and safety of those who occupy your facility. However, it’s also a requirement for most businesses. In general, your state will have an OSHA-approved plan. You can check out some resources on what you need here, here, and here.


Your plan at minimum should be designed to protect employees, contractors, visitors, and anyone else in your facility. It needs to include four protective actions for life safety: evacuation, sheltering, shelter-in-place, and lockdown. The plan needs to be accessible to all, communicated to everyone, and in most cases, you need to provide training for your staff.

Evacuation – The most common reason to evacuate is fire. You need a warning system, sufficient exits that are clearly marked, a safe area, and routine evacuation drills.

Sheltering – We cover shelters at length here. This is where you’d go in the case of a tornado.

Shelter-In-Place – Typically the opposite of where you’d seek shelter for weather. This is the core of a building, away from windows. It’s safety in the event of, say, a nearby explosion or other disaster that makes the outdoors/air unsafe.

Lockdown – If violence occurs in the workplace, employees need to know how to respond. Depending on your facility, internal and external lockdown procedures may be appropriate.


Complete emergency preparedness includes planning, documenting, training, coordinating, and practicing. Ready.gov has a helpful, thorough description of everything you need to know to create an emergency response plan here. It includes this quick checklist for your plan development:

10 Steps for Developing the Emergency Response Plan

  1. Review performance objectives for the program.
  2. Review hazard or threat scenarios identified during the risk assessment.
  3. Assess the availability and capabilities of resources for incident stabilization including people, systems and equipment available within your business and from external sources.
  4. Talk with public emergency services (e.g., fire, police and emergency medical services) to determine their response time to your facility, knowledge of your facility and its hazards and their capabilities to stabilize an emergency at your facility.
  5. Determine if there are any regulations pertaining to emergency planning at your facility; address applicable regulations in the plan.
  6. Develop protective actions for life safety (evacuation, shelter, shelter-in-place, lockdown).
  7. Develop hazard and threat-specific emergency procedures using guidance from the resource links on this page. Write your emergency response plan using this template
  8. Coordinate emergency planning with public emergency services to stabilize incidents involving the hazards at your facility.
  9. Train personnel so they can fulfill their roles and responsibilities.
  10. Facilitate exercises to practice your plan.”

Emergencies happen every day. Make sure that your plans are up to date and compliant with the specific standards that apply to you. It can be a difference of life and death.

We care about our customers – not just their satisfaction with our products, but also that they feel able to work smarter. Both the package and packaging process can lead to stress and even injury if they’re not optimized. If you need to look at improving your packaging, give us a call. We’ll take you through a stress-free process so you can determine what’s best for you. Reach us at 952.944.9124 or get a free assessment here.