Warehouse Inspection Checklist: 12 Things To Inspect For Safety

By - Chris Barnard
Last Updated - March 30th, 2024 4:33 PM
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As someone who owns a warehouse or is in charge of one, you already know the importance of maintaining the highest safety standards. In fact, you might even have a set of in-house rules or guidelines for the safety and well-being of both personnel and property. 

After all, it is your responsibility to make sure that your warehouse is a safe place for your workers. 

Now, when it comes to ensuring continued safety, routine inspections as per a warehouse inspection checklist is a must-have. 

You see if estimates from OSHA are any suggestion, 5.1 out of 100 warehouse workers get injured every year. And a lot of these injuries have to do with working conditions that a routine inspection could otherwise detect. 

A warehouse safety inspection checklist can not only uncover underlying defects but also help you fix them. 

Curious about what this checklist involves and how you can use it to get your warehouse inspected? 

Read on, as I’ve discussed everything along with my own commercial property inspector insights. 

What is a warehouse inspection checklist? 

First thing’s first, let me address the billion dollar question, i.e., what exactly is a checklist for warehouse inspections? 

A warehouse safety inspection checklist is a list of all those areas that will be inspected during a routine inspection. 

Moreover, a commercial building inspection team will follow this checklist and visually assess all the warehouse components mentioned there. 

Also, the inspectors will check the boxes for every such component on the list that passes their inspection. This, in turn, will give you an idea about where potential problems lie, thus helping you undertake essential remedies. 

To put it simply, you can think of a warehouse facility inspection checklist as a guide for safety inspections and post-inspection corrections. 

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Note: An inspection checklist is different from inspection report 

While you can refer to an inspection checklist for necessary warehouse fixes and maintenance after the inspection, it is not a substitute for an inspection report. 

You see, a post-inspection condition report is an important document that details the findings of the inspection. Also, it is in this document that property inspectors highlight the shortcomings and share their suggestions. 

In short, you should always rely on a warehouse inspection report for any major renovations or overhauls. 

Warehouse inspection checklist: 12 must inspect items for safety

Now that you know what a warehouse facility inspection checklist is, you might well be curious about the areas or components it covers. 

A standard inspection checklist that I follow while inspecting warehouses covers 12 key components. In fact, I’ve prepared it closely in line with OSHA’s warehouse safety inspection checklist pdf to ensure each of the critical warehouse components are assessed. 

All in all, here are the areas that my safety inspection checklist covers, and so should yours for enduring safety: 

1. Vital structural components 

The first item on a warehouse safety inspection checklist template is usually the major structural components. And rightly so, as these are the areas that withstand wear on a daily basis, given the high intensity of work in warehouses. 

For instance, there is always the chance that walls, floors, ceilings, etc., in a warehouse have caused some damage. So, neglecting these areas can result in a major safety hazard and cause injuries.  

As such, a commercial building inspection for warehouses should always start with the structural components. Also, it should flag the defects or damages for immediate repair. 

2. Lighting conditions 

Lighting is among the most underrated warehouse safety concerns. That’s because a lot of avoidable accidents and subsequent injuries result from poor lighting conditions. 

I always prioritize a warehouse’s lighting in my safety inspection checklist. And it isn’t just me, as even OSHA’s safety checklist has proper lighting as a high priority item. 

So, a warehouse inspection should always look for proper overhead lighting across spaces like work areas, loading docks, offices, corridors, cafeteria, and bathroom to name a few. 

3. Potential hindrance 

It is commonplace for warehouses to have clutter ranging from items left around the aisle or exits to improperly parked forklifts or trucks, and more. 

However, this is a major safety concern since it can injure workers and also obstruct their safe exit in case of an emergency. 

And this is exactly why inspection checklists like the one I follow prioritize this particular area. 

4. Fire safety systems and equipment 

You’ll agree when I say that fire safety is an important area during warehouse inspections. 

But have you ever wondered how important it precisely is? 

As per a National Fire Protection Association report, fire departments responded to a whopping 1450 warehouse fires every year. And apart from $283 million worth of property damages, these fires also resulted in 2 deaths and 16 injuries. 

Simply speaking, fire safety has a direct impact on the overall safety and well-being of your workers. And to that end, fire safety systems and equipment are of utmost importance across inspection checklists. 

5. Fire exits 

While it is mandatory for all warehouse plans to include a fire exit, the problem usually lies with the exit signs. 

For instance, I’ve noticed faded and unlit fire exit signs in a few warehouses, usually resulting from neglect and lack of maintenance. 

Now, it goes without saying that fire exits are essential to save lives during fire emergencies. And to that end, these are an indispensable part of inspection checklists. 

6. Level of hygiene 

Whether or not your warehouse maintains the required hygiene and cleanliness is yet another important aspect of the inspection checklist. 

In fact, it closely follows the recommendations listed on the FDA warehouse inspection checklist and is considered an essential aspect of property condition assessment. More so if it’s an FDA registered warehouse getting inspected as per a food warehouse inspection checklist. 

Now, you might say that it isn’t easy to maintain cleanliness in a warehouse, given the movement of goods and vehicles, and I can’t agree more. 

Nevertheless, it is important since not only does a lack of cleanliness affect workers’ well-being, but it also poses food and other safety hazards. 

7. Emergency signs 

Like all facilities, emergency signs play a critical life saving role within warehouses, and thus, are a non-negotiable part of warehouse inspection checklists. 

But what’s there to inspect in emergency signs, you might wonder? 

Well, not much. 

However, inspectors do look for two essential things though: 

A. Whether or not the emergency signs are large enough to be seen by anyone within the warehouse facility. 

B. Whether or not the emergency signs are placed where they should be. 

8. Storage racks 

Talking about the warehouse storage racks, these are among the facility safety concerns, making them an important warehouse racking inspection checklist item. 

You see, damages arising out of wear and tear are common in storage racks. And if not fixed or replaced, this can pose a major safety risk given the heavy load these racks bear. 

For instance, if a storage rack falls apart, it can injure a nearby worker. 

So, it is important to inspect all storage racks and document their existing condition during a warehouse inspection. 

9. Warehouse drainage system 

Warehouse drainage is crucial for the overall safety of both your workers and the goods being stored. 

Firstly, a well-functioning drainage system will prevent slips, thus helping avoid injuries. 

Secondly, it will also help keep the stored items dry, which will, in turn, ensure they remain safe and undamaged. 

Finally, the drainage system also helps preserve the structural integrity of the facility by preventing water-induced damage. 

As such, a warehouse safety inspection checklist will always have a drainage system as an inspection item. 

10. Hazardous materials storage 

If your warehouse stores hazardous materials like chemicals, combustible items, etc., then the warehouse facility inspection checklist will include an assessment of these materials. 

Broadly speaking, the inspection closely assesses the storage and handling of such materials. Herein, inspectors like myself check whether or not the storage meets OSHA’s standards for hazardous material storage

Additionally, an inspection checklist may also include an examination of the PPE kits being used by the workers. 

For instance, whether or not the kit provides full-proof safety from hazardous chemicals is something that will be examined. 

11. Loading dock

A checklist for warehouse safety inspection can’t be complete without the loading dock. That’s because OSHA’s estimates suggest 25 percent of all warehouse accidents happen at the loading dock

It’s the loading dock where forklifts and all other loading vehicles are deployed. And here the causes of accidents range from lack of restraint to inefficient use of space to faulty equipment and many more. 

So, an inspection closely examines all the systems and components of the loading area and flags any potential risks or hazards. 

12. Warehouse stairs 

Last but not least, an inspection checklist for warehouses will cover both indoor and outdoor staircases and evaluate the following: 

A. Whether or not railings are installed properly around the stairs. 

B. Whether or not all the stairs are of the same height. 

C. Whether or not there are guardrails to prevent accidental falls. 

You might also want to read – A Complete Property Condition Assessment Cost Breakdown

Why is a warehouse facility inspection checklist so important?  

If you already own or operate a warehouse, you’ll agree when I say that regular warehouse inspections are super essential.

However, the outcome of these inspections directly depends on the inspection checklist that your inspector follows. Meaning the extent of problem detection and safety standards within the warehouse will depend on the checklist. 

Overall, here are a few reasons why it is essential to follow a warehouse safety inspection checklist template: 

1. Ensures the safety of workers and equipment 

You’ll agree when I say that the safety and well-being of workers is the number one concern for warehouse owners and managers. Also, the safety of warehouse equipment is no less a concern. 

Now, going by industry estimates, I can tell one thing for sure: Safety inspections as per standard checklist do bring down accidents substantially. 

So, for a small investment, you can have peace of mind knowing that your workers are working in a safe environment and your warehouse equipment is in optimal condition. 

2. Helps detect problems early on 

Early detection of problems goes a long way to prevent potential safety hazards and costly fixes. 

For instance, let’s say there’s a structural problem in the form of a small crack in your warehouse wall. So, by detecting this beforehand you can undertake timely repair and avoid any mishap in the future. 

3. Increases efficiency by reducing downtime 

Long downtimes are among the biggest operational worries in warehouses. And a lot of it has to do with the lack of a proper inspection checklist. 

For instance, let’s say your inspector doesn’t follow a checklist and misses on a broken storage rack. This will leave you with faulty storage on your hands, preventing you from storing items in the warehouse until the rack is repaired. 

4. Improves inventory control and reduces cost 

Believe it or not, but a hindrance in the form of left around items has also to do with your overall operational cost. That’s because your warehouse lacks optimal inventory management, which in turn delays the movement of goods. 

Nevertheless, the fact that a warehouse inspection checklist covers potential hindrances means you can use one to ensure better inventory control. 

You might also want to read – Apartment Building Inspection: An All-Inclusive Guide (2024).

Conclusion 

As you can see, a warehouse inspection checklist covers everything that’s essential to ensure safety, maintain optimum working conditions, and increase efficiency. 

In fact, with the right inspection checklist handy, you can prevent any potential mishap and ensure seamless operations. 

I hope you found my warehouse facility inspection checklist helpful and that it will assist you with your warehouse inspection projects. 

Want to get your warehouse inspected by professionals? 

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At Florida Commercial Building Inspectors, we are seasoned inspection professionals with over two decades of expertise. And we’ve got all your inspection requirements covered on a budget. 

Have you read: What Do Building Inspectors Look For In Commercial Properties?

Chris Barnard

Hi there! I am Chris Barnard, a licensed building inspector and the founder of Florida Commercial Building Inspectors. With over two decades in the inspection industry, I’ve delivered thousands of commercial and residential inspections across various states. During all these years, I’ve developed detailed insights on the ins and outs of building inspections, something I look forward to sharing with you through my blogs.

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