A warehouse, especially one that is constantly being used for inventory storage, shipment or even assembly, can be a dangerous place. Heavy equipment is being moved, filled pallets of product are stacked to the ceiling and there’s always the possibility of human error.
There are two things you can implement to improve the safety of your warehouse environment— safety training and safety automation. What is the difference between these two concepts, and how can they both help you create a safer and more productive workplace?
What Is Safety Training?
As its name suggests, safety training consists of a training program designed for your employees. This program should include things like:
- Equipment certification: Employees should be trained and certified on all equipment they will be expected to use on a daily basis.
- Hazardous material education: Employees should be trained on proper handling and disposal of dangerous materials they may encounter in the course of their duties. This training should also include how to use amaterial safety data sheet and where to find these sheets in their work environment.
- Safety procedures: Training should include all necessary safety procedures, including emergency procedures.
- Continuing education: Employee training should constantly be refreshed throughout the course of their career. It’s not something you can do once and expect it to stick.
Workers’ compensation claims cost companies in the United States alone upwards of $1 billion every single week. By implementing comprehensive safety training programs, you can lower the number of workplace injuries and thus lower the amount of money paid out by your company in the form of workers’ comp.
What Is Safety Automation?
Safety automation takes some of the responsibility for workplace safety out of employees’ hands. This comes in two forms — safety systems and traditional automation.
Safety systems are designed to make the workplace safer overall. It could be as simple as having assigned lanes for large equipment and other areas for pedestrians, or it could be as high tech as utilizing motion sensors, safety gates and other equipment designed to keep people out of harm’s way.
Automation, on the other hand, increases workplace safety by taking people out of the equation entirely. Depending on the type of warehouse you operate, things like packing, palletizing and many other functions can be replaced with automated robotic systems. These systems do still require human monitoring and maintenance, but the majority of the work is done automatically without human interference.
Why Are They Both Important?
A successful warehouse is built on the backs of its employees. You can’t run a business without them, and they can’t work if you can’t keep them safe on the job. Safety training and safety automation are both essential parts of running a warehouse.
Safety automation and training aren’t without their risks. An automated safety system usually requires an internet connection or other form of networking, which can put it at risk for cyberattack. However, these risks can be minimized by utilizing up-to-date cybersecurity protocols and training your employees on the dangers of introducing unsafe attachments or programs into the system.
Even traditional safety training doesn’t always ensure your employees are creating a safe environment. Still, it’s essential to take the steps to provide these tools to your employees andoffer a safe working environment.
In essence, these two items are one of the most important parts of running a warehouse or other similar business. In addition to keeping your employees safe, you reduce the amount of factory downtime that can occur after an accident, especially a severe one. Creating a safe environment also helps improve employee morale and increase loyalty and retention. No one is going to want to continue working in a high-risk environment if they feel like their employers aren’t doing enough to keep them safe.
Don’t let the need to increase productivity jeopardize your employees, especially as business picks up during the holiday season. If you haven’t already implemented comprehensive safety training or looked into safety automation practices for your business, now is the perfect time to start. The safety of your employees outweighs any potential cost for setting up the programs that can be used to keep them safe while they are at work.
Article by —
Megan Ray Nichols
Freelance Science Writer