For 18 unpredictable months, the pandemic has sent shockwaves through the warehousing and distribution sector. Without warning, store closures and COVID-19 transmission concerns pushed most of the population to shop online. Within months, web-based sales as a proportion of all retail purchases had leapt from 19% to 36%. Meanwhile, employers scrambled to source staff and sharpen delivery mechanisms to meet demand.
For some businesses, the pace was perilously quick. According to March 2021 RIDDOR statistics, fatal workplace injuries in the services industry (which covers warehousing, logistics and wholesale and retail trade) increased by 23% year on year. As a stark comparison, on-the-job fatalities across all other industries dropped by 7%.
Many warehousing companies simply didn’t have adequate H&S programmes to deal with the surge. Ad hoc employee training and old-school admin methods such as spreadsheets and paper files led to critical knowledge and information gaps, ramping up risks to workers and productivity.
As the dust begins to settle, the solution lies in technology. Online compliance management gives you the 24/7 tools and resources to run a robust, scalable safety programme. Platforms like Safety Cloud automate every element of H&S and deliver complete visibility across areas where warehousing businesses often fall short.
1. Accident prevention
Effective safety management relies on an end-to-end view of compliance performance. Safety Cloud makes it simple to record H&S activity – including details of near misses and onsite accidents – and accurately identify recurring problems and their root causes. Armed with a comprehensive picture of risk across your sites, you can implement targeted controls and proactively reduce accident rates.
2. Data and documentation
For growing warehouse operations, using disconnected spreadsheets and hard copy files to manage a company-wide compliance programme is no longer a viable option. By placing all documents and data on the cloud, you and your employees have access to vital insights, wherever and whenever you need it.
Safety Cloud provides a single source for current compliance documentation and policies, so you can be confident all staff are working from the same correct, date-stamped versions. At the same time, details of workplace accidents and near misses are securely stored and instantly retrievable when required. So in the event of a claim or investigation, due diligence trails are ready and waiting.
3. Compliance tasks
In a fast-paced warehouse environment, essential H&S duties can be easily overlooked. Safety Cloud’s proactive features ensure you never miss a target or KPI. Routine tasks – from risk assessments and equipment audits to racking inspections – are delegated and dealt with in a few clicks. If a deadline is missed, the system triggers an auto-alert to keep deliverables on track.
The system’s work equipment tab allows you to record important statutory checks and evaluate progress over time, taking remedial action where needed. Results can also be shared online with senior managers, so key compliance issues can be addressed at exec level, helping to strengthen long-term safety strategy.
4. Staff training, engagement and accountability
In the race to recruit and onboard employees during the pandemic, many companies were forced to take shortcuts on staff compliance training. An online approach brings employee skills and safety awareness swiftly back on course. Safety Cloud places a full catalogue of e-learning modules within immediate reach, with tailored options for onsite and remote workers, managers and new starters.
With a cloud-based system, you can view training requirements and milestones at the touch of a button. If a team member falls behind, automatic reminders guide them through to course completion.
The platform also helps staff understand their contribution to overall compliance. With personal logins for every employee and online sign-off for managers, Safety Cloud gives colleagues ownership of safety tasks and an active role in raising standards. A safety observation function also promotes engagement, vigilance and accountability.
Get a year of free e-learning on Safety Cloud
Trusted by 150,000 users worldwide, Safety Cloud helps warehouse companies maintain compliance in a changing market. Book a complimentary Safety Cloud demo to see how online H&S management can make a difference to your business.