Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

How Much is Human Error in the Warehouse Costing You?

Posted by Brian Quigley, Director of Client Services on Jan 24, 2017 3:00:00 AM

Everybody is vulnerable to mistakes. But every single error inside a warehouse operation can impact profitability and safety. If you look at the most common warehouse mishaps, you’ll see that a large percentage are the result of human error. road-sign-1274312_640.jpg

Human error can potentially cost a warehouse operation in inventory, productivity, injuries, damages, and even in human life. For example:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a total of 765 workers from the warehousing and transportation industries died from an occupational injury in 2015 — that's second only to the construction industry in terms of job-related deaths.
  • The financial cost of just one forklift impact is about $38,000, plus another $150,000 in indirect costs. Those costs include damages to equipment, property, inventory, workmen’s compensation and equipment down-time for repairs.

Needless to say, reducing human error can improve safety and cut costs. Let's look at the best ways to do so.

6 ways to avoid human error in the warehouse

The most effective way to reduce human error in your operation is to implement an advanced telematics system that warns about potential errors before they happen. Managers can then take a proactive approach to prevent mistakes and improve safety and efficiency.

Today’s telematics platforms monitor all the moving parts of your organization. They can limit the potential for human error in the following 6 ways:

1. Analyzing worker behavior in real-time

Combat worker negligence or complacency before an accident occurs. Use telematics to implement operation-specific safety checklists, which each driver must successfully complete before the equipment will operate. Then, while vehicles are in use, telematics can monitor speed limits and control access to specific areas of the warehouse — for example, refusing entrance to areas designated for pedestrian traffic.

2. Tracking inventory

Misplaced orders or lost pallets cost you time and profits. Advanced location software can track vehicles and pallets, essentially linking forklift movement with pallet location, so you know the exact location of all inventory at all times.

3. Optimizing fleet routing

Telematics can predetermine risks and traffic issues and reroute the fleet accordingly. This ensures safety, efficiency, and greater productivity.

4. Sending reminders for fleet repair and maintenance needs

Regular maintenance and proactive repairs result in less vehicle downtime, and they help prevent small issues from becoming larger, more costly ones.

5. Delivering actionable information

Telematics can analyze historical data to identify the underlying cause of impacts — be it lack of training, risky operator behavior, or accident-prone areas of the warehouse. Easy-to-understand, real-time reports allow managers to make proactive changes to reduce future incidents.

6. Ensuring operators are certified

Telematics can track each driver’s certifications and training and send warnings to managers if qualifications are about to expire. The technology also can evaluate drivers on a regular basis to determine if they need more training. Ensuring that operators are certified and well trained plays a big role in avoiding injuries, OSHA violations, and all of the associated costs.

Human error can impact warehouse safety and profitability. Using advanced telematics to monitor human behavior, skills, training, and safety protocol can predict and prevent human errors before they occur.

Topics: workplace accidents, telematics, safety checklists, warehouse safety, human error