TT Club offers warehouse fire prevention tips

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by Emily Atkins

TT Club has developed a tool to help improve safety at cargo storage facilities.

The latest poster in its TT Briefs series focuses on one the most significant risks in cargo storage – fire.

Fire is considered the most significant in terms risk to life, damage and cost of claims. The primary causes of warehouse fires include electrical failures or malfunction, hot works, maintenance related issues and poor enforcement of no smoking policies.

“As with much of our advice on loss prevention, preparation and planning are crucial,” said Mike Yarwood, TT’s managing director of loss prevention. “Periodic risk assessment, effective maintenance and training, enforcement of policy and good housekeeping are all key as the TT Briefs highlight.”

Safety precautions begin with practical considerations for establishing a warehouse. These inevitably relate to location, size, availability of labour etc., but the first and most important decision will be whether to own or lease the property. There are considerable differences in responsibilities and liabilities and these must be fully understood to mitigate risk.

While there are more obvious physical measures such as perimeter fences, CCTV and barriers, effective security measures also include procedural aspects such as ensuring due diligence when hiring personnel.  A consideration of growing importance is that of climate change, risk of exposure to weather related losses and likelihood of flooding. A less obvious consideration might be the activities of adjacent facilities, including potential contamination risks from incompatible cargoes.

The TT Briefs series is designed to convey risk management advice succinctly, in easily digestible form for operators to download and use both in the workplace and throughout their organizations. The warehouse series addresses five crucial topics:  are addressed: choosing a storage warehouse; operating a safe warehouse; mitigating flood risk; preventing warehouse fires; and operating a secure warehouse.

“Whether located in port areas or inland, warehouses are a fundamental component of the global supply chain and arguably, they have become increasingly important nodes, as just in time supply chain models are being adjusted with a more conservative approach to longer-term inventory storage,” Yarwood said.

“We are keen to increase awareness of all key risks, however our role at TT is also to guide operators in the prevention of incidents. Our TT Brief series seeks to provide pithy messaging to support toolbox talks and good operational practices.”