While it might not always be top-of-mind, technology could be your best and biggest partner when it comes to keeping your warehouse workers safe.
An estimated 4.5 million injuries occur while on the job each year, most of which are preventable and avoidable.
Consider these 10 technologies that can help make your warehouse a safer work environment for your team.
Automated picking tools.
These can assist your team by helping fill large orders faster, eliminating the need to put as many people on high ladders, allowing workers to focus on other tasks instead of those that can cause back and knee injuries. This also allows workers to be reallocated to other tasks where a lighter, finer touch might be needed.
These robots are not out to take a person’s job, let’s be clear. Instead, they work in partnership with people, helping to improve productivity and workflow without having to rework your entire workflow and processes.
Automated inventory control.
This will keep easy track of what parts and pieces and supplies you have available, without having to send someone up a ladder or into a tight space. Everything is logged in upon delivery and deducted upon use or order fulfillment, so you know how much you have at a glance.
Things like digital fitness trackers can help employees be aware of stressful and dangerous conditions, including irregular heart rates that can cause risky situations in hot weather. This helps workers keep an eye on their own health and safety and can help managers understand where the might be hotspots in the warehouse, both in terms of elevated temperatures and if there are spots within the facility where employees are more likely to be injured on the job. Other wearable technologies that can help promote worker safety are helmets and jackets with sensors capable of tracking movement, identifying the impact of a fallen object on a worker’s body or head, and monitoring health indicators like temperature and blood oxygen levels.
Automated guided vehicles.
Driving heavy machinery in a warehouse can be dangerous in a number of ways, including people who aren’t watching where they — or you — are going. By incorporating automated vehicles, the human element of driving is removed and replaced with sensors and a digital driveway that will pick up on human activity and course correct to avoid a collision. They also help to speed the process of unloading heavy materials without having to risk injury to a worker.
Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities.
Adopting smart technological pieces that can communicate with each other, tracking and monitoring safety concerns including humidity and temperature throughout your facility, can help alert you to when something’s amiss and needs attention. This is a good year ‘round a sweltering warehouse is just as dangerous as one in which ice is forming on slippery floors.
Proximity warning sensors.
Utilizing radio frequency identification (RFID) to warn employees that they’re close to a hazardous situation or moving machinery, these sensors keep employees on their toes and can help prevent injuries from slip and falls to getting in the path of a moving piece of equipment when the driver might not see them. RFID tags also can work as alarms to remind employees to turn off equipment that’s been left running unattended.
Augmented and virtual reality training.
Help newcomers and veterans alike learn the ropes and understand new technology installed in your warehouse by utilizing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) training. This way, people can learn how to navigate the warehouse, operate heavy machinery, sort and catalog inventory without having to put themselves physically in high-traffic or dangerous areas until they’re fully trained and ready.
Automated storage and retrieval systems.
Think of these as a kind of vending machine, but instead of dispensing snacks, they pick up and bring down inventory to allow for faster and safer packing of orders, collection of tools, and important materials. Some are capable of storing up to 80,000 pounds of materials, useful as warehouses adopt multidimensional vertical storage, but without endangering human workers from having to deal with such heavy tasks.
Warehouse management system.
If you can have all of your more important information in one place, updated automatically, providing your team with the latest and most accurate details, would you be interested? That’s what a warehouse management system can do for you: incorporating all your automated and manual transactions, processes, and orders in one place with fast analytics, instantly updated inventory, and reducing the risk of stress and injury to workers. Instead of having people running back and forth in a hurry, overlooking safety hazards, or making bad choices, automated management systems can streamline the whole process and establishment. It allows for improved responsiveness, shorter time between picks, and more efficient staffing, adding people when needed but utilizing technology more when things are slightly slower.
There isn’t one silver-bullet answer to keeping your employees safe, but technology can help move your operation in the right direction.
Contact Our Recruiters Today
If you’d like more insight and advice on how to incorporate technology to improve the safety of your warehouse, or if you’re looking to add to your team, contact Debbie’s Staffing. We have excellent, skilled candidates ready to get to work as soon as you need them, just give them a chance. Call Debbie’s Staffing today and let’s get to work!