they must be able to shape the protocols and training put inplace to protect them. Management needs to provide easilyaccessible outlets to empower employees to offer suggestionsand feedback on safety processes.
ADVANCING SAFETY PROTOCOLS THROUGH
Once proper KPIs and training are in place, organizations cansupport and optimize these efforts through technological innovation. Technology and data have proven to be two of the mostpowerful tools available to warehouses when it comes to mitigating the risk of injury or illness. When strategically integrated, theybecome a key component of any culture of safety.
One such example of technology that optimizes safety measuresis telematics. When integrated with material handling equipment,telematics solutions provide warehouse management with streamlined employee performance data, such as impact and incidentreporting. By analyzing operator behaviors, managers can identifywhere gaps in safety and security are occurring, allowing them towork one-on-one with associates to retrain. For further protection,these solutions can also require operators to complete Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliancechecklists before they can leverage the equipment, adding anotherlayer of safety.
Warehouse associates like pickers are particularly at risk forinjury, as their job requires constant bending, lifting and twisting.
As a result, wearable technology is another solution leading theway in warehouse wellness by putting ergonomic safety in thehands of employees. Usually clipped on the shirt collar, thesewearable devices use sensors with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to train associates to move and lift safely in real time.Should an individual make a hazardous movement, the devicecan provide audio and vibration biofeedback alerting them to therisk, and even prescribe corrective actions inthe moment through an app. Management canaccess this data to see where their employees arepotentially straining themselves, allowing themto adjust training accordingly. These devicescreate greater awareness amongst warehouseworkers, protecting their wellbeing while maximizing productivity.
One of the greatest barriers to warehousesafety lies in employee turnover. It can be challenging to ensure all associates are receiving thecorrect level of training when grappling withunexpected incoming and outgoing employees,and it’s especially difficult when relying on traditional paper-based tracking methods. To avoidthe typical headaches of manual training processes, learning management systems (LMS)can be implemented to automatically monitorand report on employees’ completed trainingprograms, and even remind them when they require additional certification. By streamliningthe training process through an LMS, managerscan avoid training oversights, maximize theirprograms for associates’ benefit, and ensure thewarehouse remains OSHA compliant.
CREATING A CULTURE OF SAFETY THAT IS
PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED
Workplace health and safety have always been crucial inwarehouse environments, but the COVID- 19 pandemic hashighlighted just how vital they are to employee satisfactionand productivity, and how easily they can be disrupted by theunexpected. Warehouses need to invest in flexible, comprehensive and innovative safety processes and solutions that putpeople first.
When organizations create an unshakeable culture of safety,employees are empowered to succeed with the confidence thattheir wellbeing is protected at every level. By supporting safetytraining and processes with the latest in workplace technologies, any warehouse can make this vision a reality. MH&L
Miguel Triviño is director of environmental, health andsafety for Kenco Logistics ( www.kencogroup.com), athird-party logistics provider.