A recognized market research firm focusing on logistics providers estimates that there are around 9,000 commercial warehouses spread across America. The top 50 companies, with nearly 3,900 warehouses, cover 829 million square feet of warehouse space. Imagine hundreds of forklifts, hand trucks, pallet jacks, and platform trucks roaming around these spaces. And imagine what is needed to ensure the health and safety of millions of truck operators, laborers, clerks, material movers, and other workers in such a busy warehouse environment.
Fortunately, technology can play a part in ensuring the health and safety of workers. For example, a technologically advanced high-speed door with soft edge profiles prevents hard collisions with forklifts and trucks. If you’re managing a warehouse facility or plan to start a warehousing business, the health, safety, and security of your workers should be at the top of your operational priorities.
Warehouse Facility Overview
In 2016, E-commerce alone contributed $9.5 billion in revenue to the warehousing industry. Overall, and as of June 2019, the figure is $25 billion. It is also riding on a robust 3.3% annual growth rate for the past five years.
Given this data, there should be no reason why companies shouldn’t allocate sufficient resources to ensure the health and safety of their workers.
Health and Safety First: Key Ideas to Consider
The warehouse facility manager should not brush aside the risk and dangers in his facility. Metal racks are filled with heavy boxes stacked-up 15 to 20 feet high. Forklift and truck operators are driving by with heavy loads. In 2017, 5,100 workers were said to have died in the workplace because of injuries or sickness. That’s a nightmare you want to avoid. Here are a few things for you to consider to manage your facility safely.
- Good governance. Good governance is not only about government agencies acting efficiently and for the best interest of the people. It’s also about corporations ensuring that proper procedures are followed all the time without exception because not only does it create consistency and efficiency; it also aims to safeguard the health and security of workers. Corporate governance is about instituting policies and protocols and making sure that the people you manage adhere to them.
- Understand the risks. Musculoskeletal disorders, slips and trips, falling objects, and vehicle-related injuries are some of the main risks identified in a warehouse environment. Risk assessment is an essential step in maintaining safety. Understand what your priorities are in terms of health and safety so that you can allocate the necessary resources and institute the proper intervention.
- Spend on training. Allocate resources for health and safety training for your staff. This should cover training on equipment use or protocols to follow during extreme emergencies, like fires. Engaging your team to take advantage of this training will reassure them that their safety is part of the companies priorities.
- Automation. Make technology work for you. There are automated systems out there that help improve efficiency and ensure the health and safety of workers. Monitors attached to workers (e.g., some in a worker’s boots) can track the worker’s whereabouts. Thus, you will know if they’re missing from their regular workstation.
Minor injuries are your best-case scenario in a hazardous environment, and it’s still not ideal. Lives could be lost. Make sure that you take note of how to keep your workers safe in your warehouse.