There are still plenty of occupations where the threat of injury looms large in day to day life, especially when the neccesary steps to ensure the health and safety of workers is overlooked or down the pecking order in terms of importance.
Whether it’s due to the fast-moving logistical nature of the business, or the actual work being carried out, no worker should have to operate in unsafe conditions, so extensive guidelines have been put in place to protect workers.
But how organisations follow those guidelines and report on the risks is still up in the air, with many continuing to conduct inspections and walkthroughs with pen and paper, especially when it comes to warehouse health and safety.
While this may have been the only option before the information age, where technology was not readily accessible or even portable, things are much different today. There’s significant room for improvement, and we’re going to show you how that’s possible with technology.
Why does warehouse safety matter?
According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), when it comes to calculating statistics warehouse-based work falls under transportation and storage. While businesses with operational warehouse will tell you that safety is a primary concern, it is still back of mind for some, as the statistics so often reveal.
While fatalities remain statistically low throughout the whole industry, it is still something to consider given that it twice as high when compared other industries. A portion of that can be attributed to warehouse-based work.
In the UK, there were 31,000 workers who sustained an injury. 2,500 of them were in the warehousing industry alone. Of these, 25% resulted in a work absence of more than seven days. Absenteeism comes at a significant cost, no matter the reason for the absence.
Not only that, but it costs productivity, too. With current trends, the injuries alone, eliminating illness from physical or mental ailments and just looking at the transportation and storage industry, result in nearly half a billion pounds per year. Warehousing specifically accounts for around 2.5% of that, so still a significant figure.
When it comes to safety, the immediate threat to life or serious injury is of course paramount. But as a secondary concern, the costs associated with unacceptable warehouse safety should provoke businesses into action, as the aforementioned absenteeism and litigation can spell disaster for a business.
What safety areas should warehouse managers look for?
For those responsible for the safety and security of everyone working in a warehouse, the first place to note is where the injuries are coming from typically. These come in no particular order or any type of weighting.
Slips and Trips
Unfortunately this is still one of the more common possible workplace injuries that occur in warehouses today. Whether it’s because of the consistent movement happening, or the nature of the goods being stored and handled, which can cause an obstruction that workers may accidentally trip over. In addition, there could be spillage of products or cleaning solutions which can also lead to slippery situations.
Even if you have the perfect setup for your warehousing, there’s still the possibility that these items can unexpectedly shift and move to a point where items may fall off the racking and onto someone. In addition, these tend to be heavy objects in nature and can cause severe injuries to anyone on the receiving end.
You may work in a warehouse that is full of toxic items or chemicals, and even with personal protective equipment, constant exposure can have an adverse effect on you. Yet even if your warehouse is not stocking volatile chemicals for sale or transportation, many warehouses still have other chemicals lying around. This could be petrol for the delivery trucks or the harsher cleaning chemicals that are industrial strength. Spilling anything like this can be hazardous.
There’s typically warehouse-specific moving equipment or vehicles that are in the warehouse, from forklifts to trucks. With the tight corners to maximise storage efficiencies, it’s a hotbed for collisions and, in turn, injuries.
On top of that, how the equipment or items are moved is also a key area for potential injuries. While machinery does most of the heavy lifting, there are times when warehouse workers themselves need to move and stack items, and without the proper training can lead to workplace injuries due to incorrect movements and exertion.
How to mitigate risks in warehouse safety
Approaches to improve warehouse safety
There are several ways to approach working to further reduce warehouse injuries, especially severe ones. The first place to begin is the right type of knowledge-sharing and training on the procedures, such as implementing the right standard inspection and reporting procedure. Also, workplace safety training so that the workers can know where the areas of risk are likely to be.
Yet that’s not enough these days if we ever want to get our workplace injuries down to zero. To head towards that direction, you need to implement the right technology solutions that can help you, your employees and the operational efficiency of the location.
How technology can help
Let’s begin by stating you do not need to invest in a lot of expensive technology. There are already resources out there that can help you not only minimise workplace injuries but also improve productivity and minimise inventory loss.
After all, if you’re in the warehouse business you might not have the convenience or resources to develop the right technical tools. That’s fine, as companies do it for you. Most of the time, it’s a simple plug and play, and its easy to use so anyone can get behind it.
Property Inspect has developed a simple web and mobile app to easily integrate with your safety inspections and reporting procedures. It can also scale with your warehousing business.
By using an easy-to-use app like Property Inspect, warehouse managers are able to implement every single to-do, checklist, inspection, maintenance and even cleaning schedule through an intuitive user interface, building up a level of organisation that wasn’t previously thought possible with a clipboard and a pen.
In addition, everything is trackable and an auditable record, if ever needed in the future, is stored on the cloud for full safety compliance and historic reporting.
Warehouse inspection technology also enables you to produce reports on all the activities that you are tracking, helping you identify any problem areas so your team can correct the issue as soon as it’s discovered.
While this helps improve overall safety, it also reduces operational costs as issues are caught before they become major or dangerous problems that require costly remediation or repair.
Whether you have one or one hundred warehouses to manage, the Property Inspect app is ready to help with the detail-oriented warehouse safety inspections and tasks that shouldn’t be reduced to outdated pen-and-paper tracking.
Don’t let your warehouse add to the statistics of being a hazardous workplace, and get yourself the right digital tools to manage your warehouse safety today.