Warehouses are evolving at a rapid pace, and safety precautions need to adapt to keep up. Here’s our rundown of how technological advances and training are driving warehouse safety improvements.
There’s more to running a warehouse than managing stock. Providing a safe work environment is just as important. Not only does this ensure a smooth operation by preventing accidents and related shutdowns, but it also helps motivate and retain employees.
Did you know the injury and illness rate among warehouse workers was 5.5 per 100 full-time workers in 2021? The warehousing workforce is booming, rocketing from 707,200 in November 2012 to over 1.7 million by November 2022. Focusing on safety has become more important than ever. So how can you harness the latest technology and upskilling trends to protect your employees?
training and upskilling
Training new employees in the real world poses risks if they lack experience. Fortunately, you can use immersive technology like virtual reality (VR) to teach workers in a hazard-free environment while giving them a more realistic experience than traditional classroom training. Learning safety procedures and behavior in a simulated workspace allows them to master those essential skills effectively in a safe, engaging way. It also reduces the chances of future accidents.
There are benefits to giving existing employees the opportunity to upskill as well: for example, by offering training in equipment maintenance. As warehouses become more and more automated, having a skilled workforce with the knowledge to service your machinery will be invaluable.
There’s no doubt encouraging your workers to regularly update their knowledge gives your company a competitive edge.
Organizations like the International Society of Automation offer an extensive range of expert-led training courses and industry-recognized certificate programs in person and online. Or your employees could boost their own (and the company’s) credentials at OSHA Training Institute Education Centers. Overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these non-profit organizations run training for everyone, from entry-level workers to managers.
new warehouse technologies
Warehouse automation can play a crucial role in safety. Sending drones instead of people to scan barcodes on high racks cuts the risk of serious falls. Using robots to carry out repeated motions can help prevent repetitive strain injury. A warehouse management system (WMS) can identify a product’s composition, ensuring hazardous goods such as chemicals are stored appropriately.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing (using local infrastructure to process data) are also becoming increasingly significant. Smartwatches and wearables like safety shoes with sensors can instantly alert workers to danger, even with no internet connection.
other safety considerations in warehouses
- Whenever you install new machinery or technology, make sure all your employees know how to use it safely.
- Implement an effective safety management system, which should include a safety policy, processes for identifying risks and reporting incidents, and safety promotion through training and communication.
- Consider automating safety procedures using continuous improvement software to track employee safety training and keep your various safety checklists in one place.
Skilled workers are more likely to have the knowledge and training to work safely. They are also likely to be more proactive in promoting safety in the warehouse. Partner with Randstad USA to get the manufacturing and logistics talent you need to run your facility safely and efficiently.