Today’s distribution centers are epicenters of activity, with many scrambling to get orders out and meet demand.
But this is how things often go wrong; especially when it comes to safety, so much activity means more ways for people to get hurt. In fact, there are currently many distribution centers working at a subpar safety level, and it’s costing them in the long run.
All distribution centers should be a safe environment for their employees. Here are the key areas that businesses need to pay close attention to when improving conditions.
1. Emergency Training
Companies need to create comprehensive safety policies, which many fulfillment businesses lack. Creating and implementing these procedures while also providing the necessary training cannot be overemphasized; distribution staff often don’t even know what training they need or isn’t provided it by management.
2. Monitoring of Workplace Procedure
On a related note, many companies have their own committees that monitor safety procedures. Safety issues often arise because there wasn’t anyone observing staff to make sure they are following regulations; however, it’s beneficial for staff to know about a business’ safety regulations and have a copy of them for easy reference. You can often find guides for occupational health and safety online, including from government web sites.
3. Improve Inventory Moving/Handling Techniques
Working in a distribution center involves physical activity, including pushing, pulling, and lifting. There is also a lot of heavy inventory and gear around, including cartons, pallets, and pick-and-packed bundles; some even contain hazardous materials, which need proper handling. Some staff opt to move this stuff by hand, which can result in everything from muscle strains to hurt backs to other long-lasting ergonomic problems. That’s why you need to have the proper machinery, like a forklift, plus the right personal equipment, like safety boots and gloves, to make sure inventory is safely moved.
4. Clarify Impairment Policies
Another obvious yet overlooked issue is employees that come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being obviously unacceptable behavior, companies need to be stern when a staff member comes to work intoxicated. Impairment is a recipe for more accidents; even employees taking prescription medication need to be aware that they should not be operating certain equipment or working in particular sectors of the warehouse.
5. Proper Equipment Installation
Every business should acquire new equipment when it will help make operations faster and safer. Just make sure the equipment is properly assembled and installed; it doesn’t matter what it is, if it breaks or falls apart, serious injuries can occur.
Safety relates to the damage that can be done to a distribution house over time due to a lack of strong procedures. Even small accidents can lead to government fines, insurance fees, and an overall decrease in productivity. By having a quality in-house safety protocol, you lessen employees’ risk and enable them to be more productive.
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