September 7, 2022 | Insights
Gatehouse Safety & Security 101
September 7, 2022 | Insights
The gatehouse of your distribution center is the first and last stop for all traffic that flows through your facility. A well-run gatehouse can improve overall operations, safety, and security. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of running the gatehouse properly to create a safe environment for your team members and the goods traveling to and from your warehouse.
Pedestrian-vehicle collisions are one of the greatest risks for gatehouse teams, so gatehouse team members should always wear high visibility outerwear such as a jacket or vest to help them stand out from the environment.
When moving around the facility, gatehouse teams (and all team members) should check both inbound and outbound lanes before stepping onto the road or approaching vehicles. It’s important to avoid walking in front of or standing in the path of oncoming traffic at all times. Even with high-visibility safety gear, inclement weather conditions and dark times of day can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians in their path.
Preventing Slips and Falls
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), over 42,000 workers get injured annually due to fall incidents. This number represents about 18% of the “time-loss injuries” that were accepted by workers’ compensation boards or commissions across Canada. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 27% of the 888,220 nonfatal work injuries resulting in time loss in 2019 were related to slips, trips, and falls.
Safety boots with non-skid soles and steel- or composite-reinforced toes are an essential part of the yard uniform for everyone, including team members working the gatehouse. Because gatehouse team members are on the move in all weather conditions checking in vehicles and walking back and forth from the gatehouse, the right footwear is especially important.
If you’re a gatehouse team member, it’s a good idea to inspect your footwear regularly for wear and tear. If the tread on your soles shows visible wear, it may be time to consider a replacement pair.
Customs Compliance and Security
Receiving any shipment comes with risk, and there can be extra governmental and regulatory requirements when goods originate from international sources. Ensuring that SOPs and checklists are followed every time is a key responsibility of gatehouse team members.
There are two certifications in North America that help companies expedite goods that are considered low risk based on their point of origin. As part of its Partners in Protection (PIP) program, Canada Border Services Agency uses Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) to expand the international trade network of accredited low-risk companies.
The United States Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) also has a voluntary public-private sector partnership program, Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). According to U.S. CBP, C-TPAT exists to “protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. Applicants must address a broad range of security topics and present security profiles that list action plans to align security throughout the supply chain.”
If your distribution center is C-TPAT- or PIP-certified, your gatehouse team members play an important role in maintaining your certifications and compliance by checking in and checking out shipments according to strict criteria.
The better quality the training at your site, the more likely your team members are to succeed in their roles—that applies to drivers, gatehouse teams, warehouse teams, and even leadership. Ensuring that team members get trained properly is even more challenging in today’s employment environment, where you’re likely already having to do more with fewer people than you had a few years ago.
Electronic learning (eLearning) technology and a Learning Management System (LMS) can be great resources for your team to access critical information about how to perform their jobs. In addition to shoulder-to-shoulder coaching, eLearning can be highly effective in setting up your team members for success in a wide variety of positions, including the gatehouse.
Operational Excellence Starts at the Gatehouse
The right safety, security, and training practices for your gatehouse team members have a ripple effect on the operational health of your distribution center as a whole. When traffic flows smoothly, documentation is flawless, and people stay healthy, it makes the jobs of everyone in the facility easier while also protecting your organization from risk.
If you ever find yourself in need of additional support with your gatehouse operations (or your yard operations as a whole), please reach out to us! We can help you identify opportunities for improvement with a free on-site or virtual yard audit.
At the end of the day, when you stay focused on your people and best practices, profits are sure to follow!