Maximizing Workplace Safety in Warehouses and Distribution Centers

The most recent study from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported more than 3 million workplace injuries in the US in 2013. This astounding number is made even more alarming by the fact that most of these injuries could have been avoided with the proper cost-effective safety precautions in place.

In workplaces like warehouses and distribution centers, injuries are unfortunately very common due to the use of equipment required for performing essential duties. However, these types of accidents can be minimized with an efficient access control solution that monitors, restricts and manages equipment keys for optimal employee safety and accountability.

Proper Key Control Isn’t About Keys

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In a bustling warehouse, workers are often rushing around to ensure product deliveries are promptly handled. Drivers can also be in a hurry to unload their trucks and head back to their warehouse to reload and deliver to a new location. If the workers unloading the truck aren’t finished when the driver receives the keys back, they could be severely injured as the driver starts the truck and attempts to drive off. This is an issue that often occurs as a result of the dock door being opened while a forklift driver is still loading or unloading a truck.

The solution to this problem is an intelligent option that is not subject to human error and drives process, like Traka’s Dock-Door management solution. Vehicle and equipment keys are attached to a clever device called an iFob, which contains an electronic chip giving it a unique identity and allowing for 24/7 tracking and auditing.

When a truck enters a warehouse for unloading, an iFob is attached to their key and stored in a secure cabinet. This electronically alerts workers that they are ready to open the warehouse door and start unloading items off the truck. If an attempt is made to remove the key while the warehouse door is still open, the key cabinet will lock and refuse to release the key. This eliminates the risk of premature vehicle drive offs, increases employee safety and preserves products from becoming damaged.

Proper key control isn’t about keys at all. It’s about the processes an organization wants to control to maximize safety and efficiencies!

Restricting Employee Access

During a busy holiday rush or even a last minute drop-off, employees can be pressed for time and in a rush to get from one piece of equipment to the next. With equipment frequently shared and keyed alike, it’s common for keys to be left in machines to “make it easier” or to be passed between employees without even a manual checkout process in place. This swift exchange may seem ideal to get a job done quickly, but it often creates more problems than it solves.

For safety and liability reasons, employees may only have clearance to operate certain pieces of equipment. Some of the most common, hazardous equipment in warehouses includes:

  • Fork lifts
  • Pallet trucks
  • Cherry pickers
  • Hydraulic stackers
  • And more

Without an automated control system in place, employees can get ahold of any key in the facility, giving them access to all equipment, even those they aren’t permitted to use. A lack of knowledge for the proper use can result in an employee harming themselves or their coworkers. Equipment could be damaged and products could be destroyed, potentially costing the warehouse millions in product damage and employee liability.

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With an intelligent solution, each employee is only allowed access to equipment they are licensed and trained to operate. Traka’s immobilizer systems ensure access is controlled and each employee and equipment transaction is maintained indefinitely in a database while also recording additional details like times of use and control levels. Linked with key cabinets, iFobs determine who can access each piece of equipment and within what timeframe to ensure only permitted employees are able to operate the dangerous equipment that contributes to millions of workplace injuries a year, all while making operations run more effective and efficient.

Prioritizing Employee Safety

Whether in a busy warehouse or a demanding distribution center, employee safety is a primary concern. The implementation of an intelligent solution can help improve employee safety, streamline operations and increase productivity since all keys are tracked and monitored electronically. An automated key management system provides the security of knowing your keys and assets are always appropriately.

Traka’s advanced key management systems and electronic asset management lockers for warehouses and distribution centers help keep employees safe and equipment in prime condition. To learn more about the intelligent key security solutions Traka provides, contact us today.