Key Steps to Improve Safety in the Warehouse and Optimize Productivity
As warehouse workers race to meet increasing shipping targets against the backdrop of a severe labor shortage, reports of accidents, repetitive stress injuries, and debilitating health conditions are skyrocketing. DTG CEO Steve Shaheen points out in a recent SupplyChainBrain article that a few key steps can significantly improve workforce conditions and increase safety in the warehouse while optimizing productivity.
The work performed in logistics centers and fulfillment and distribution facilities is usually physically laborious and involves manually moving pallets loaded with hundreds of pounds of merchandise to various locations throughout the warehouse, breaking down bulk materials, and coordinating shipments, among other things. Most of this work is strenuous, repetitive and leads to injuries that can have a significant impact on workers, as well as the company’s bottom line.
In the article, Steve shares some strategies to reduce injuries and the costs associated with them and create an environment that takes an enterprise-wide approach to improving safety. Those include:
- Acknowledge the problem. For years, business leaders and operators of logistics and distribution facilities have downplayed the health concerns and safety risks of their operations. Acknowledgement of the problem is the first crucial step from which other steps can be taken to dramatically reduce the rate of injuries, boost employee morale and improve profitability.
- Establish a culture of safety. Make safety a company-wide initiative with a top-down approach to ensure all employees, including management, embrace the key principles of a safe working environment for all staff, especially those working in the warehouse environment. Create new policies and procedures that minimize risk and ensure the safety of employees. These include appointing chief safety officers, providing proper training, and promoting awareness about any potential safety hazards. In addition to investing in new safer solutions, business leaders and warehouse management should practice what they preach throughout all aspects and levels of the company.
- Invest in innovative solutions. There’s no question that warehouse workers need solutions that enable them to efficiently and safely do their jobs. One key step in that direction is to untether employees from fixed workstations, allowing them to safely move throughout the facility and access devices, applications and data at the point of task. Solutions such as DTG battery powered workstations enable warehouse workers to safely reduce wasted movement, optimize productivity, increase operator safety, and reduce worker fatigue. That’s a win for both the employees and the company’s profitability.
The warehouse, as with all work environments, should be a place where all employees feel safe and supported as they do the critical work of meeting increasing customer demand. And, as retail sales and ecommerce shipments continue to increase in 2023 as expected—and the labor shortage showing no signs of abating—retailers and logistics operators will need to rely on their fulfillment and distribution workers more than ever. Now is the time to invest in strategies and technologies that empower those employees to do their jobs proudly, efficiently and safely.