Warehouse Worship: Leading the Industry with Our Central Distribution Centre
HERCULES CENTRAL DISTRIBUTION CENTRE: WHAT WE DO
You’re probably reading this on a computer or mobile phone that at one point, was probably sitting somewhere in a warehouse. In 2019, warehouses are a huge part of nearly every industry but we often don’t consider where our things live before they get to us, or exactly what goes into running a smooth, successful warehouse operation. We’re here to help.
Hercules’ Central Distribution Centre (DC) in Long-Sault, Ontario has the largest inventory of securing, lifting and rigging equipment under one roof in Canada. We’re also the only Central Distribution Centre (DC) warehouse in the securing, lifting and rigging industry that supplies products on a national-scale to our 20+ branches and ship directly to customers. The Hercules DC is in Cornwall on the 401 highway, sandwiched right between Montreal and Toronto and close to a border-crossing into the United States, as well.
So, what exactly does it take to operate our DC? Luckily, we know just the guy. Terry Bartlett, Hercules’ Central Distribution Manager shares what he’s learned over his career, and what how he and his team run our DC like a well-oiled machine.
HERCULES’ WAREHOUSE: TEAM PLAYERS
Terry Bartlett has been in distribution and material handling industries for over 20 years. Terry started as a Rig Technician at Hercules SLR in Montreal, quickly moving into a leading roles first as a Production Supervisor, then to Floor Manager. When Hercules decided to open a distribution center 3 years ago, Terry practically leaped at the opportunity to help the team establish operations. Over the past 6 years, Terry’s used his knowledge of Hercules and his distribution experience to set-up, recruit and make operations ultra efficient as our Central Distribution Manager.
Terry can’t do it all alone—A hard-working team is essential to a well-run DC. Tim Bingley, Nick O’Brien and Jamie Plumadore have been part of the DC warehouse team for two years. They help Terry with basically all aspects of running the DC warehouse, including creating and setting policies & procedures and creating a culture that can continuously improve, keep up and grow with industry trends.
As our business grows, so does the DC team. The DC Warehouse has doubled their team in the past year. Phillipe Gatien, Adam Bartlett, Eric Nadeau and Eric Vanderwal have joined our team to help operations.
HERCULES WAREHOUSE: 5 SAFETY TIPS FROM TERRY
1. KNOW THE RISKS
Be aware of hazardous risks associated with warehouse work. These include slips and fall (which are some of the most common injuries on any jobsite, even offices) but warehouses present even more issues. Racking accidents, musculoskeletal injuries from improper lifting methods and temperature fluctuations are all risk factors for hazards.
You can’t prevent accidents or expect warehouse personnel to avoid hazards if they aren’t aware of them.
2. PREVENT FALLS, MAKE HOUSEKEEPING A PRIORITY
Like we mention above, slips and falls are some of the most common warehouse injuries, and can be particularly dangerous when lifting equipment is being used. In Ontario, nearly 20% of lost-time injury claims were due to falls. To prevent falls and trips, be sure to have guards installed in areas where there are large spaces between floors that personnel could fall through. Mop and clean up spills, slippery materials like sawdust, and be sure to store boxes properly – not on the warehouse floor where someone may trip over them.
Train and make personnel aware of any abnormalities that might cause them to trip, like cracks in the floor, uneven stairs or plugged-in cords; and also human error that easily contributes to falls, like tools or equipment placed on the floor for just a moment.
3. KEEPING TRAINING CURRENT
Yes, maybe employees who have been hired years ago have been trained, but as new standards come out, personnel should be familiar with them. Be sure to give thorough training on any new technologies you bring in, like connective radios or tracking systems, hand signals & important communicative phrases, and make sure safety and equipment training is up-to-date – to do this, give personnel ‘refresher’ courses regularly and hold safety meetings with warehouse personnel.
4. USE EQUIPMENT PROPERLY
Again, “Isn’t this common-sense?” you probably think. However, one of the top citations OSHA gives out each year are for equipment violations. Ever see this scene from ‘The Office’? Some people shouldn’t use the forklift.
Make sure personnel has the proper training and licenses to operate machinery like forklifts, aerial lift trucks and even fall protection. Safety harnesses can be used improperly, which can lead to accidents. For example, a Hercules SLR inspector was once called into a warehouse operation whose safety equipment was often breaking. When he entered the warehouse, he saw a worker swinging from side-to-side on various platforms with a safety harness and lanyard which were only supposed to be used vertically. This was improper use, which explained why their safety equipment was failing so frequently.
In 2018, three of OSHA’s most frequent citations in warehouses were for Fall Protection training & general requirements and industrial truck violations – invest in training for warehouse personnel, especially when fall protection is being used.
5. HAZARD COMMUNICATION
Another citation OSHA often gives out is for hazard communication. Hazardous chemicals can cause corrosion, respiratory issues or become flammable, and should be labelled. Hazard communication includes proper labelling, education for employees about the risks involved and plans to control spills and proper disposal.