When did you last Audit your DG?
I recently visited a client of mine to conduct a Dangerous Goods Safety Audit to ensure that they had captured working instructions for all the products that they ship from their facility to all corners of the world. I would say that we both learned from the experience. I opened the conversation with a question "How many articles containing Dangerous Goods do you believe are in your inventory?" Response about 4 or 5.
On our way to the area containing the Dangerous Goods, we took our time to and the staff proudly showed me different areas of the warehouse. As we were on our way I stopped and said "Oh what about this, it has Lithium Batteries in it?" Response - Goodness we need to add that to the list"
After several stops and finding Dangerous Goods, we ended up with 2 x A4 sheets of inventory in their warehouse that would be considered as dangerous goods for transporting and needed to be checked in more detail to ensure that they are compliant.
I understand how easy it is as a Distributor to fall into the trap of a growing inventory of dangerous goods that you were unaware of especially Lithium batteries - they are hidden in so many articles these days. You hold stock on behalf of your customer and your role is to pick, pack and arrange international transport to the final consumer. If you are not armed with any dangerous goods knowledge you will easily fall into situations with having your shipments stopped and potential penalties for not declaring what you are shipping.
How can you avoid this?
- With the quarterly/monthly stock inventory controls have the warehouse team look out for batteries, gases, magnets etc to ensure that they system has the articles flagged as dangerous.
- Ensure that your stock system has the capability of flagging Dangerous Goods - so only trained employees can handle.
- Have processes in place with the buyers that are sending you product that for every inbound shipment a Safety Data Sheet is part of the communication prior to the arrival of goods, so you can prepare for what is due to arrive.
- Train your customer service teams on a Dangerous Goods with an Awareness course so that they can recognise potential problems that may be coming.
- Talk to your senior management team about a Dangerous Goods policy - what type of products and hazards are you insured to store in your facility?
- Ensure that you have trained staff and they are retrained every 2 years.
Always talk to a professional if you have any concerns or need assistance on how to correctly pack, mark and label and document dangerous goods. Contact Logicom Hub Ltd if you need any support in controlling your Dangerous Goods inventory, documenting work procedures for your staff or training.