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How to manage your seasonal stock and keep your stockroom safe

It’s that time of year again when you need to find extra space for your seasonal stock. It’s not easy squeezing in Halloween costumes, trick or treat sweets, Christmas decorations and wrapping paper, all on top of your current stock range.

Your stockroom might be feeling a bit snug, but is it safe for you and your staff? We share some tips with you to help keep your stockroom safe while you work around your seasonal stock.

Use the height you have

Your initial instinct may be to store your additional stock outwards, filling up your empty floor space, but it might be worth stacking upwards – but only safely. Investing in higher shelving or secure racking will give you more storage space and free up floor space, making it easier to navigate your storeroom. Use safety stools or lockable, moveable ladders to reach stock easily.

Stack it up, safely

Piling up boxes of stock as high as possible is an easy way to maximise space, but it isn’t necessarily the best approach. Stacking up boxes until they are higher than you can be risky as they could become unstable and fall on someone, causing injury or harm. Remember, always keep heavy items on the bottom and lighter items on top – this includes shelving as well.

Are your staff fully trained?

Lifting and moving heavy boxes can put a strain on muscles and joints, such as the lower back or shoulders. Your stockroom not only needs to be easily accessible, but your staff need to know how to lift boxes and stock safely. If your staff are working at heights, they should have proper ladder safety training if appropriate, as well as lifting and handling training. Doing a risk assessment for your stockroom will help you identify potential risks, for example, if your employees are overstretching to reach boxes down, which could result in injuries. If you have failed to provide the correct training or safe working conditions and a member of your staff injures themselves on your premises, you could be facing an employers’ liability claim.

man carrying cardboard boxes
Image source: Adobe Stock

slips and trips iconDon’t slip or trip up because of your seasonal stock

We know that for the next few months it will be all hands on deck, stocking the shelves on the shop floor, refilling and replacing stock, and dealing with an increase in stock deliveries. The winter season can go by in a bit of a blur for retail workers, but if you aren’t careful, that is when accidents can happen. Keep regular stock accessible, especially if you are likely to need to access it quickly – don’t bury it under seasonal stock, which could result in boxes lying across your stockroom, creating potential trip hazards. Refilling and stocking your shop floor during opening hours can sometimes be a necessity but empty boxes and packaging such as plastic could be a slip or trip hazard. Facing a public liability claim could be costly to the business if you or your staff have not been duly diligent. Clean and tidy as you go.

fire iconDon’t get burnt by fire hazards

The seasonal months tend to be colder and heating is essential. However, beware the combination of electric heaters and cardboard in a stock room as they can lead to fires and in some cases serious damage to your shop, with financial implications for your business. It might seem obvious, but it can be a simple accident which can be the most devastating.

You might not use a fire door as an exit or entry point but this does not mean it can be blocked off with stacks of additional stock. Fire doors and fire exits should be kept clear to provide safe passage for staff and customers but are also designed to act as barriers to the spread of a fire if necessary.

Be cautious of overfilling bins with empty boxes and other packaging left over from your stock deliveries as this could pose an opportunity for arsonists wanting to start a fire. Lockable bins could be one solution to prevent fires.

Protect your stock with the right cover limits

If you find that you do have extra seasonal stock on top of your regular stock, then it may not be covered and could be at risk. For example, if you have £5,000 as a cover limit but you bring in £15,000 worth of seasonal stock and your shop is unfortunately targeted for a break-in and theft, the likelihood is that you will only be covered for £5,000 worth of stock, meaning you could lose £10,000. The best way to protect your stock is to ensure that you have the correct cover limits in place. At The Retail Mutual, we charge no admin fees, which means you can make adjustments easily and without any cost penalties. What’s more, during the months of November and December we automatically increase your stock cover by 50% to cover any additional stock you might have.

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