Storing goods and materials safely

Off-site storage safety

When considering the risks of goods and materials storage, remember to factor in any materials you store away from your main premises. For example:

  • construction businesses typically need to store materials on building sites
  • retail businesses may need a storage lock-up or warehouse away from the shop
  • office-based businesses may need to archive documents which they don't have room for on site

Many of the same risks and control measures apply to materials stored off site. However, there are likely to be increased security concerns, particularly if goods are stored in an isolated location or if you rarely visit the storage facility. Also consider whether there are increased fire risks.

You are also likely to be held responsible for any incident of pollution that occurs from your site, even if it is caused by vandalism.

Ways to reduce risks

Ensure that the storage environment is appropriate for the materials being stored. For example, a damp atmosphere could damage documents and foodstuffs.

Even if you don't need to access the materials regularly, it's worth checking from time to time that the goods and premises are in good condition.

A common method of off-site storage in the construction industry is to use a lockable steel cabin. However, these can still be vulnerable to theft and some businesses also use 24-hour surveillance and security agencies to guard building sites at night and weekends.

Retailers may want to store surplus stock in a lock up or warehouse away from their premises. You may want to consider using a specialist warehousing company offering facilities such as CCTV, security guards, temperature alarms and fire and leak detection.

There are also specialist businesses which provide document-storage facilities. They may store your papers in airtight containers for added protection and offer fire and theft detection systems.