Non-Toxic Manufacturing: how to step up risk control in warehousing

Here are some key best practices to ensure that raw materials in the warehouse do not lead to chemical cross-contamination during storage.

In the production of footwear and apparel, the quality and safety of raw materials are crucial for the final product’s quality. To reduce the risk of cross-contamination with toxic and harmful chemicals that may be more prone to incompliance, footwear and apparel manufacturers need to take a series of preventative measures. Here are some key best practices to ensure that raw materials in the warehouse do not lead to chemical cross-contamination during storage.

1. Differentiate Storage Areas

The primary task is to divide the warehouse into different storage areas. These areas should be classified based on the characteristics and purposes of raw materials to ensure that different types of materials are not mixed together. By setting signs or labels in the warehouse, each storage area’s purpose and the types of materials stored can be clearly identified, helping to prevent cross-contamination between different materials.

2. Cleaning and Maintenance

Regularly cleaning the warehouse is a key step in reducing contamination risks. The accumulation of dust and chemicals can lead to cross-contamination. Additionally, inspecting and maintaining warehouse facilities are crucial to ensure there are no leaks, seepages, or other potential issues that could spread contamination.

3. Storage Requirements

Different raw materials may have varying storage requirements, including temperature, humidity, and ventilation conditions. It is essential to carefully follow the requirements of each material to ensure they remain in good condition. Strict adherence to storage conditions is particularly important when dealing with high-risk materials.

4. Standardize Warehouse Management

Developing and implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for warehouse management is crucial in reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Employees need training to ensure they understand the characteristics of toxic and harmful chemicals and the risk points of cross-contamination, guiding them in correctly following operating procedures.

5. Regular Inspections and Testing

Regularly inspecting the warehouse and conducting random material tests, especially for high-risk materials, is necessary to detect the volatility of harmful chemicals. If cross-contamination or potential risk arises, test procedures should be intensified. If an establishment is unable to conduct inspections and testing independently, professional guidance and testing from third-party laboratories should be employed to de-escalating the issue.

6. Preventive Storage for Materials with Volatile Hazardous Chemicals

Materials containing easily volatile hazardous chemicals (such as formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, dimethylformamide, etc.) should be stored separately, away from other materials, and additional preventative measures should be taken. This includes using sealed containers or packaging to reduce the risk of their volatilization and diffusion.

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