Unfortunately, everybody is vulnerable to mistakes. Human error comes in many different forms and has the potential to have devastating consequences as it can undercut product quality, physical safety, IT security and customer service.
Most workplaces need people, and some employees have enormous responsibilities which can directly impact the company’s bottom line and the wellbeing of others. In fact 50% of major accidents are caused by human error, including the loss of embryos at an Adelaide fertility clinic in 2016.
While it’s easy to assume that being 99.9% accurate at all times is good enough, one must always consider that there is always room for improvement. After all, if we were 99.99% accurate, there would still be:
- 500 incorrect surgical operations each week
- 50 newborn babies dropped at birth by doctors everyday
- 22,000 checks deducted from the wrong bank account each hour
- 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes shipped each year
What can be done to reduce human error?
Regardless of the industry, the most effective way to control human error is to implement strong systems and guidelines which take care of human and external factors.
Of all workplace deaths in Australia last year, the transport, postal and warehousing industry had the most deaths with a total of 64 .
Below are just some ways in which human error can be minimised in a warehouse environment:
Analysing worker behaviour
With complacency being one of the biggest causes of human error and accidental death, it’s vital that employees working with heavy equipment and machinery do not underestimate potential dangers.
Combat worker negligence and complacency by implementing specific safety checklists which each employee must complete before utilising a piece of equipment. As experienced workers account for a large sum of workplace accidents, incremental refresher courses and training should be implemented across the warehouse.
All too often, supply chain managers do not properly calculate all the elements of cargo loss. As a result, the impact to a company’s bottom line is often significantly underestimated.
Misplaced orders and lost pallets can cost time and money. Using advanced location software to track vehicles and pallets, will eliminate room for error and misplaced goods.
Proper Training and education
Without proper education for all warehouse operators, a warehouse will not be able perform at its full potential. A lack of adequate training is the foremost cause of human error and can affect profitability and employee wellbeing.
Refresher courses for veterans, particularly if the warehouse has acquired new equipment, should be mandatory.
Companies could also consider forming a warehouse safety committee, comprising of workers selected from the various sub-sections of warehouse such as floor workers, shift supervisors and managers, to address safety issues and carry information on to the wider workforce.
At the end of the day, humans aren’t machines and we do make mistakes from time to time. While this may be the case, implementing guidelines and enforcing regular training sessions can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and human error.