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How to make safer warehouses with AMRs and automation

3 Warehouse Automation & Safety Tips

May 6, 2021  |  Lindsay Derda

With an aging workforce, growing labor shortages, and extreme demands, warehouse safety is more important than ever to prevent injuries and avoid downtime. Nearly 95 million people miss work each year as a result of workplace injury, with warehousing as the number one most dangerous profession.  

Robotics are the answer to making warehouses safer. Automation takes the danger out of accident-prone tasks and eliminates human error. The dream of an injury-free future is within reach and driving the demand for warehouse robotics. Research conducted by Transparency Market Research estimates that the global warehouse robotics market will grow at a 12% compound annual growth rate and reach a value of $9.5 billion through 2027.  

The warehouse floor is a place typically teeming with potential hazards; however, autonomous mobile robots, automated forklifts, and other automated heavy equipment positively address current safety and ergonomic issues. Check out these three automation warehouse safety tips to boost the well-being of your employees and the productivity of your warehouse. 

1. Redeploy Workers to Safer and More Satisfying Tasks

Worker safety should be priority number one for every warehouse manager. By automating manual repetitive tasks, warehouse personnel can be redeployed to areas where they will not only be safer, but also more engaged in their work. 

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are consistent, reliable, and predictable. Automated forklifts with robust navigation systems are incredibly safe and less prone to warehouse accidents than human-operated machines. For example, Seegrid Palion AMRs always follow their intended routes, avoid collisions, and behave predictably, mitigating the risk of relying on a distracted or fatigued human operator. With proven technology in control of the AMR at all times, you can redeploy the forklift operator to different, more cognitive tasks where they can provide more value. AMRs don’t mind if their jobs are repetitive or tedious. In fact, those are the perfect jobs for them. 

With the addition of automation and industrial robots, warehouse workers have the opportunity to focus on jobs that require imagination, adaptability, and decision-making skills, as opposed to repetitive and dangerous hard labor. Plus, job satisfaction and employee retention go hand in hand, so moving workers to other areas in the warehouse will likely improve your bottom line. 

2. Reduce the Risk of Injury from Physical Strain and Repetitive Motions

While warehouse managers have to deal with the immediate and loud hazards, such as crashes and falls, it’s the less-obvious ergonomic hazards that can develop and add up over time. Approximately $1 out of every $3 spent on workers’ compensation claims are due to insufficient ergonomic protection.    

In the workplace, ergonomic concerns (e.g., undue physical stress, strain, overexertion, repetitive motion, awkward postures, heavy lifting, etc.) can lead to intractable pain, inability to work, time off for the injured employee, production downtime, and additional costs for the employer. As a result, many organizations are prioritizing workplace ergonomics to reduce physical stress, as well as the risk of disabling work-related musculoskeletal disorders. 

With innovative, automated solutions, such as Palion AMRs, which reliably and intelligently follow their trained routes without the need for a driver, organizations can promote a healthier, more ergonomically friendly warehouse environment. These types of autonomous mobile robots improve workplace safety while optimizing workflow processes, increasing accuracy and throughput, and reducing labor and operating costs. 

3. Automate Processes to be More Efficient

The pressure of keeping up with the competition, customer demands, and faster delivery timelines, especially during the boom of e-commerce, is often cited as a contributing factor of workplace accidents. Automating the most physically demanding and dangerous work in the warehouse drives processes to be more productive, predictable, and efficient while reducing wasted travel time. It’s unreasonable to expect warehouse workers to maintain the same pace of repetitive work as a robot for long periods of time. 

With Palion AMRs automating replenishment, parts-to-line, or putaway processes, facilities can maximize efficiency while minimizing employee hazards and straining. Components, supplies, products, tools, and parts can be consolidated into one shipment and safely transported to support production, driving efficiency and safety simultaneously. The end result is faster deliveries, increased accuracy, and minimal strain on the operator. 

Automation and Safety Go Together

Employee safety and productivity are not mutually exclusive. Palion AMRs make it possible to achieve both. As companies continue to rely on automation to remain competitive, warehouse employees will have the benefit of working in safer environments.

Automation has been proven to boost productivity, reduce travel times, decrease costs, and most importantly, improve safety. It’s no longer a question of “when” or “if” you will automate. The time to invest in AMRs is now. 

Learn More about warehouse safety and why the world's leading companies rely on Seegrid to do the hazardous work. 

 

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AGV Safety Benefits of Automation Warehousing