Every second, an average of 14 workers gets njured on the job in the United States.
Workplace injuries can occur in any industry, but they’re especially prevalent in the supply chain and logistics industry. After all, these jobs often require a great deal of lifting, bending and operating heavy machinery.
Below, you’ll learn more about the importance of supply chain safety and common risks supply chain workers face. You’ll also discover practical strategies you can use to increase worker health and safety.
Why Supply Chain Safety Matters
When business owners and managers in the supply chain industry prioritize worker safety, they and their employees enjoy numerous benefits. Here are some of the top reasons why supply chain safety matters:
According to the latest data, the annual cost of workplace injuries is $163.9 billion. This number includes wage and productivity losses of over $44 billion, medical expenses of nearly $35 billion, and administrative costs of $61 billion.
When you prioritize worker safety, you save money and have more resources to dedicate to other elements of your business. You may also notice that your insurance premiums are lower since you aren’t filing as many workplace injury claims.
Improved Productivity and Morale
Safe and healthy employees are productive and happy employees.
It’s easier for people to stay focused and engaged at work when they aren’t worried about getting injured or sick on the job. They’re also more likely to have a positive attitude about their job, meaning they’re less likely to jump ship and leave you scrambling to find a replacement.
Reduced Exposure to Hazardous Materials
Proper health and safety protocols reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous materials in the supply chain industry.
All employers should worry about protecting employees from this type of exposure. It’s especially important for employers whose businesses handle products like pharmaceuticals, food or chemicals.
Improved Brand Reputation
These days, consumers care more than ever about the values of the companies they support.
If your business has a reputation for not valuing employee safety and putting workers in harm’s way, you may face backlash from the public. This backlash can damage your reputation and eventually impact your bottom line.
Common Supply Chain Safety Issues
Those who work in the supply chain industry are exposed to various hazards each day. The following are some of the most well-known safety issues these workers may face:
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls frequently affect workers in the supply chain industry.
If cords and hoses aren’t adequately secured, or if objects aren’t put away in the proper place it becomes easy for employees to trip or fall on the job. Slips can easily occur, especially if workers aren’t in the habit of cleaning up spills as soon as they happen.
In the supply chain industry, poor communication can easily lead to injuries. If an employee doesn’t understand how to use equipment properly or know where to put something, they could accidentally injure themselves or a colleague.
Lone Workers with Limited Supervision
Some supply chain jobs require employees to spend a lot of time alone such as delivery drivers and with limited supervision.
Working alone and unsupervised could expose employees to potential environmental hazards. If they’re working in potentially unsafe areas, they may be victims of violence as well.
Many supply chain jobs require employees to perform repetitive motions and spend extended periods of time in uncomfortable positions such as bent over machinery and standing along an assembly line.
Employees may be more prone to injuries, chronic pain and postural issues without proper ergonomic support and regular breaks.
Ways to Improve Supply Chain Health and Safety
If you want to avoid the abovementioned health and safety challenges, there are lots of strategies you can implement among your employees. The six suggestions listed below are all excellent starting points:
1. Leverage Technology
Numerous tools exist that can improve health and safety in the supply chain industry.
For example, some organizations are using robots to increase efficiency and reduce the risk of falls and lifting-related injuries.
Recognition technology can also help employers stay on top of employee practices and ensure workers are using proper safety techniques.
2. Implement Proper Reporting Channels
Improper communication is a significant challenge and safety risk in the supply chain industry. When employers implement proper reporting channels and ensure all employees know about these channels they make it easier to learn about and respond to potential problems.
3. Use Proper Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment like high-noise communication headsets and high-visibility clothing can help to prevent hearing damage, increase communication and reduce injury risk in the supply chain industry. All employees should have easy access to the proper gear that protects them while on the job.
4. Eliminate Potential Safety Hazards
Many accidents can be avoided by eliminating potential safety hazards.
Employees should always put items away in the proper location and managers or other leaders should patrol the floor regularly to ensure employees are following through. Cleaning spills up right away also helps to prevent slips and falls.
5. Identify and Mark Hazardous Zones Clearly
Another way to avoid workplace injuries is to identify and mark hazardous zones.
Employees should be able to easily tell where chemicals are stored or where they may face a higher risk of being electrocuted. With this information in mind, employees are less likely to get hurt on the job.
6. Provide Proper Training and Courses
Finally, employers should ensure employees receive proper training.
When first hired, employees should undergo extensive training to learn how to use equipment properly. They should also undergo regular continuing education courses to stay informed about the latest safety protocols.
Improve Supply Chain Health and Safety Today
Improving health and safety protocols in the supply chain industry helps to protect workers and allows business owners to save money and experience higher productivity.
The strategies discussed above are all beneficial and practical solutions to common supply chain workplace safety issues. Implement them today to maximize safety, improve morale, and enhance your organization’s reputation.