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Workplace Safety in the Self Storage Industry
Posted 11/20/2017
Author Ben Abdallah
 
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Self storage is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Since the Great Recession, the ease and attraction for obtaining additional space has generated a phenomenal increase in the new construction of self storage facilities in both urban and semi-rural areas. Property management groups seize the opportunity for growing their businesses which creates new jobs for on-site managers and maintenance personnel and can extend into multi-state locations.

The industry’s success can be attributed to the following factors:

  • Storage facility design and operational similarities offer predictability in managed functionality
  • Minimal employee count; facilities require a singular manager and only one or two maintenance staff members
  • Workplace safety and security protocols that can dramatically impact the bottom line profitability

One neccessity within the industry is the establishment and effectiveness of a workplace safety initiative to avoid work-related injuries and illnesses. Although the inherent safety risks are similar throughout other investments, there is some unique aspects of risk that extend beyond the commonality of slip, trip and fall exposures, cuts and strain-related injuries from improper lifting and material handling.

Implementing a preventive strategy and employee training process can help mitigate the following industry risk scenarios:

Workplace Violence: Managers working alone in their office setting may have interaction with unpredictable tenants or a transient walk-in public with their own agenda. They are at risk of possibly confrontational exchanges that can escalate into violent behavior. Training and planning regarding how to react in these situations is vital to the safety and wellbeing of employees.

Insufficient Communication with Personnel: Managers and maintenance personnel seldom work in the same common areas of the complex. A means of direct communication should be established in case of emergency or confrontational risks. Two-way radios can be more effective than cell phones as they are instantaneous in function and audible in response, often instrumental in defusing a confrontation or summoning help.

Security and surveillance: Strategic placement of fully operational security cameras in all areas of the facility is most effective. Employees should not place themselves in vulnerable positions beyond the camera’s range when interacting one-on-one with the public or responding to unusual distractions or perceived threats outside of the complex.

On-Site Public Restrooms: Establishing safeguard policies for employees to follow diminishes the risk of a staff member being lured into and possibly accosted within the confines of an on-site public restroom.

Entrance and Egress Coding: Storage tenants should be required to use a gate access code when entering the storage facility. Many establishments allow their exit gate to open automatically when tenants leave the facility. Newer establishments now require the tenant to re-enter their code prior to leaving the exit gate as a security measure to verify their time on-site and that they have departed the premises.

Expectations and Limitations of e911: Understand the limitations of enhanced 911 when making emergency 911 calls from a cell phone or VoIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol) calling services. In the past, calling 911 from a landline or hard-wired phone enabled the call dispatch center to identify the caller’s address associated with their phone connection. This is not the case when calling from a wireless phone, smart phone watch or Internet device. The call is received by the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) however it is then referred to a honeycomb network of communication towers that merely pinpoint the area of a caller’s location within several hundred meters. When calling 911 from a mobile or Internet device, the caller must be precise in confirming the address in need of emergency service responders.

There are numerous aspects associated with workplace safety that extend beyond identifying workplace hazards. Members of the SBOA that have successfully partnered with AlphaStaff, Inc., have discovered an invaluable resource of risk control services that include: claim management, analytical reporting, access to the AlphaStaff Safety Library and much more.

To find out how AlphaStaff can provide storage owners with the tools and services needed to educate on safety and risk management please contact Vice President of Strategic Business Development, Jeniece Carter-Henson, at JHenson@AlphaStaff.com or at 727.365.6722.

 

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