Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Safety or Productivity? Your Warehouse Can Achieve Both

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Apr 10, 2018 4:00:00 AM

It’s common for warehouse workers to focus on getting their job done and letting safety take a backseat to productivity. Why aren't both a priority? Fork lift with operator working in warehouse

It’s easy to forget that safety can be closely linked to job performance and productivity. It’s also easy to forget the inherent risk that goes along with the job.

Workers don't always prioritize safety, but they should. Beyond protecting employees and your enterprise from the impact of costly injuries and mishaps, increasing safety has proven to deliver ROI and increase productivity.

So, instead of prioritizing one over the other, the two should be viewed by everyone in your facility as a pair of closely connected objectives, which can be achieved simultaneously.

Why focusing on productivity is a costly mistake

With increased production, and sometimes the complacency that comes with busy, repetitive work, it is easy for employees to view safety restrictions as just one more challenge slowing them down.

But, investing in safety will cost an enterprise less than the financial impact of a workplace injury. Consider this: Beyond the physical and emotional impact, the cost of the average work-related injury leads to $38,000 in direct expenses and $150,000 in indirect costs. This means that a single injury could cost your business a total of $188,000.

This includes: 

  • Loss in productivity
  • Reimbursement costs and expenses to the injured employee
  • Salary of the injured worker and the downtime replacement
  • Equipment, repair, or replacement costs
  • Hikes to insurance premiums
  • Legal costs

Safety and productivity — a partnership that pays off

To prioritize these two objectives, you need to know when either is being jeopardized by poor planning, routing issues, or operator behavior. Investing in technology that monitors all the moving parts of your organization, with a focus on safety protocol and checklists, can provide the warnings you need to support safe operations and optimize productivity.

For example, safety-monitoring software can provide:

1) Operator Report Cards

Operator report cards report data on how well an operator or group of operators are performing. Telematic monitoring identifies the “what, when and why” of any safety infraction, and can bring violations to your attention, such as sounding an alarm when the speed of a forklift exceeds the pre-set speed limit.

2) Maintenance Report Cards

This data quantifies how well a forklift, or a group of forklifts, perform against safety KPIs, if each forklift passed its safety checklist, and if repairs are scheduled and completed.

3) Impact Detection

This provides valuable insight on the operator involved in any impact, the forklift involved, and the severity of the accident. All information is documented through the software, and the vehicle is locked down.

Proper measurement of your tools and operator behaviors, combined with the use of effective technology, are key to breaking the silos of safety versus productivity. When you create a strategy that includes real-time monitoring and actionable data, everyone in your facility can easily balance safety and productivity as they complete assigned tasks.

Topics: fleet telematics, KPIs, proactive warehouse solutions, forklift impacts, Routing checklists, operator behavior, root cause, forklift operators

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