WAREHOUSE SAFER WITH AUTOMATION Fact or sales talk?
Once you have read this article, you will know how to avoid unsafe situations in your warehouse.
Forklift trucks running at full speed in and out of a trailer.
Heavily loaded vehicles that brush past me…
As owner of a company that automates the in and outbound processes of warehouses, I frequently visit warehouses. When walking around in them, I don’t feel very comfortable, to put it mildly. I always have the feeling that I have to be on the alert.
This is not entirely unjustified, according to research by EVO. In the Netherlands alone, there are about 1500 accidents and 7 fatalities with internal means of transport every year. The biggest cause: human failure.
It is not the drivers of the equipment that run the greatest danger, but the people who are walking around in the warehouses. Office staff or lorry drivers for instance. They are unfamiliar with the situation.
Even a small forklift truck without a load is at least twice as heavy as a car due to the counterweight required. That can easily double with a load. Of course, forklift trucks don’t drive very fast, but they do reach 30 kilometres an hour. Due to the high work pressure, that speed is often needed too. A collision nearly always has (far-reaching) consequences.
Moreover, forklift trucks are sensitive to tipping over due to their top-heavy loads. A forklift truck driver sits in an open cabin. You don’t want to think about what happens if he ends up under his forklift truck.
Nor about what happens if the forklift truck drives into a trailer, while the trailer is driving off.
Or if employees or visitors cannot be seen because of the blind spot caused by the large load. And then we are not even talking about all the damage to equipment, buildings and products.
In the video below, a number of warehouse accidents are shown sequentially. It at least makes you think.
Automation improves safety in warehouses
Companies within the intralogistics sector often opt for automated systems from a cost or efficiency perspective. However, there is another important effect, and that is the significant improvement of the safety situation.
Automating the process makes things calmer and provides a better overview in the process. There are less people in the space, thus reducing the chance of accidents.
Intralogistics systems, such as pallet cranes, automatic loading and unloading systems and chain and roller conveyors are always housed in a shielded area. As soon as someone enters the area, the system automatically shuts down. If you don’t go past the fencing, then you can be certain that you are safe.
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are self-steering and significantly safer than driver-driven forklift trucks. As opposed to people, AGVs have eyes in front, behind them and sideways, and they can look a long way too. AGVs automatically drive more slowly if a moving obstacle comes closer. If the obstacle gets too close, then the vehicle stops immediately. By law, AGVs have to comply with stringent safety requirements and the number of accidents caused by them is zero.
Are there absolutely no safety disadvantages with automating the in and outbound processes? I didn’t come across yet.
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