Despite more companies returning back to what is the new normal, businesses and workers still feel the effects of the pandemic. Obviously, companies have a responsibility to make warehouse safety a high priority. In doing so and ensuring the safety of workers and visitors, warehouses must have controls in place. Otherwise, they will be at risk for workplace injuries and the high costs associated with them. Moreover, the ongoing pandemic propels the need to put more processes in place to keep workers safe.
Companies are dealing with more than a shortage of warehouse workers. There is also a shortage of truck drivers. Fewer trucks show up at warehouse facilities, which further disrupts the work and supply chain. Warehouse safety has always been of utmost importance. But the shortage reinforces the need to take warehouse safety to another level.
Data shows that manufacturing and warehouse facilities are some of the most dangerous places to work. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, these facilities face a greater risk than the construction industry. The table highlights the number of recordable nonfatal occupation injuries in manufacturing is 373,000 for 2020. Out of these reported injuries, 135,000 were serious enough to force workers to have days away from work. This is the highest out of all the industries.
Additionally, a warehouse and storage report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states there were an average of 21 fatalities for every 100 warehouse and storage workers. And the number of recordable cases of injuries was 5 out of every 100 warehouse and storage workers. You can ensure your numbers remain as close to zero as possible with these four top ways to enhance warehouse safety.
1. Put a Higher Priority on Training
Investing more resources into training and education is far less expensive than the price of a fatality or injury. Companies that go the most days without injuries invest in training and create safety processes and procedures. They also do safety training or briefs every day.
It’s critical that workers conduct safety checks every day at the start of the day and again at the end of the day. Some tools and equipment require working through preparation and shut-down steps to maximize safety.
You have many options for training. It can be as easy as the daily briefing that covers basic safety. Daily safety checks, inspections, and demonstrations of proper equipment use help prevent workers from growing complacent over time. Some injuries have resulted from workers using the wrong personal protective equipment (PPE) and gear for specific activities. That’s why it’s essential to cover the proper use of PPE in the training.
Anything related to safety and security is worth repeating and overcommunicating. Workers don’t always remember the first, second, or third time they get the message.
During this training, ask workers to please report safety hazards. Give them a way to do it anonymously in case they fear backlash. Too often, workers don’t speak up when they spot a safety problem. An EHS Daily Advisor article references research that reveals people only speak up about 39% of the time. That’s unacceptable. So, keep encouraging workers to report problems.
If you have a lot of workers who speak a different language, it’s worth investing in a translator. This is one area of communication that must be 100% understood.
2. Invest in Workers
With a workforce shortage, it’s urgent to keep your workers while attracting new ones. The previous item of investing in education and ongoing training will go a long way in worker retention. As workers learn new things and pick up new skills, they’ll be less likely to leave for another warehouse. In upskilling your workforce, they will gain promotion opportunities as well as raises. Giving them a raise costs less than finding and replacing a worker who leaves.
Is there a local community college or tech school that offers training? Build a relationship with the school. It could lead to the college referring graduates to your warehouse.
If you wait until you need to hire more workers, it could be too late. Warehouses need an ongoing recruiting strategy to ensure they get qualified workers.
3. Add Access Control
An access control system manages who can and cannot enter a warehouse. You can also control access to different parts of the facility and limited-access rooms. If you have a parking lot and a gate, then the access control system can manage who can get in with their access cards. Anytime a worker quits, you can shut off their access to the warehouse.
Some warehouses use keypads, but workers can forget the keypad codes. An access control system can eliminate the need for memorizing codes. Besides, entering codes in a keypad takes longer for someone to enter a warehouse than simply swiping their badge. Speed matters because it reduces the chances of a trespasser attempting to tailgate or piggyback into the warehouse.
Here are some of the advantages of implementing an access control system:
- Authenticates identities.
- Controls external access.
- Includes photo identification.
- Removes the need for keys.
- Eliminates manual security procedures.
Unlike other automated entry systems, an access control system can track who accesses any part of the warehouse. You may be able to integrate an access control system with remote video surveillance. Cameras can lower the chances of tailgating and piggybacking. This brings up the next item.
4. Install Remote Video Surveillance
Installing video cameras is only part of the equation in maximizing warehouse safety and security. When no one watches the camera, then it turns the security cameras into passive security. This means no one checks the cameras until after something has already happened.
Leveling up warehouse safety and security means including the “remote” in remote video surveillance. This adds multiple layers of warehouse safety and security. For one, you gain another pair of eyes watching over your entire warehouse and the perimeter around it. If workers don’t report a safety hazard, then the trained monitoring operator can report them.
In the most effective video surveillance system, trained operating monitors don’t work alone. A powerful monitoring system incorporates video analytics. This helps lighten the monitoring operator’s load. Together, video analytics and the monitoring operator can find and report safety hazards to prevent injuries.
Monitoring operators are not located in your warehouse. They could be working in a different city or even another state. If your local area deals with a natural disaster, the monitoring operators can watch over your warehouse while you and your workers stay safe.
Video surveillance with remote monitoring can do much more than boost safety. It helps deter crime, lower liability, and enhance facility productivity. Here’s how remote video surveillance contains multiple layers of security.
The first layer is the visibility of security cameras. Some leave the property as soon as they see the cameras. The second layer involves the offsite monitoring operator who can issue an audible warning over an on-site speaker telling the intruders to leave. This stops some people, but not all of them.
The third layer of security is the operator calling law enforcement. As the police head to the warehouse, the operator can track the suspect for as long as needed while providing updates to the police. If a suspect escapes before the police arrive, video analysts can search for the footage from all relevant cameras and provide that to law enforcement to help them identify the suspect and make an arrest. This is another critical factor in choosing the right remote video surveillance system. Not all security cameras have the ability to identify faces and details.
Everything the security cameras see can be saved as recordings to give you any evidence you need for insurance, the police, and anyone else who needs it. Some warehouses use security technologies like long-range surveillance and license plate recognition to capture identifying information.
These recordings can also give you the evidence you need for difficult-to-win cases such as injury, fraud, and liability claims. Besides, sometimes management finds out about something that happened days later. Therefore, it’s important to ask how long the monitoring company retains footage as you interview different vendors.
When a security system includes video monitoring cameras and access control, you can match the time stamp from the access with the video to see what happened at a certain time.
You won’t have to worry about false alarms and the costs associated with them because the operator can help ensure emergency personnel does not receive a call when there’s a false alarm. The advantage of video surveillance with remote monitoring is that you can rest easy knowing that someone can watch the entire property around the warehouse. Security guards can’t. They can only see the areas where they are patrolling.
Video surveillance is different from other security solutions because it’s proactive, helps bolster warehouse safety, provides security, and helps reduce liability. Video surveillance often leads to a fast ROI in a matter of months.
In searching for remote video surveillance and access control system, look for security companies with experience in working with warehouses. The industry has its unique requirements that make its system setup different from others.
Stealth can customize a right-sized solution that boosts warehouse safety and security. In choosing Stealth, you’ll work with security professionals who have experience in securing warehouse facilities like yours. Have questions about security to help ensure warehouse safety? Contact us.