UK handling supplier, Midland Pallet Trucks, suggests warehousing processes are affecting staff skill sets.
At a time of year when many warehouses are finding that they don’t have the resources onboard to effectively manage holiday demand, one materials handling expert is looking beyond the next few months to consider ongoing talent availability across the sector. Midland Pallet Trucks questions whether existing warehouse processes and procedures could be contributing towards the deepening supply chain talent shortage being experienced.
The spotlight was recently shone on the growing issue by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, who found that warehouse workers were amongst those roles in greatest demand. While changing demographics and skill sets are believed to be the primary reasons for the talent gap, a failure to provide efficient, safe working environments could be a factor
Midland Pallet Trucks Managing Director Phil Chesworth said: “Skill sets are changing, but they’re not changing quite as rapidly as we think, and what we have is a highly talented and highly able future workforce who we must attract to the industry. Part of that is ensuring the work environment is both safe and attractive.
“To make warehousing a more compelling career pathway for the many skilled and passionate potential workers out there, risk mitigation must be a priority. While we certainly don’t believe that a single solution such as high lift pallet trucks alone can transform the industry, we do believe that having the right equipment on site, and offering the necessary training to handle this equipment, could be instrumental in narrowing the skills gap and making it easier to find and retain skilled operatives.”
According to the Health & Safety Executive, more than 8500 warehouse injuries are reported each year. Warehousing has long been considered to be one of the most dangerous industries, particularly in environments where the more traditional and manual processes have not been updated to include modern materials handling equipment. Of the 8500 annual accidents, around 20% are thought to result in major injuries.
The need for more effective and efficient handling equipment such as lift platforms and hand pallet trucks in warehouses becomes even more urgent when considered alongside the many quick fire changes that are taking place across the industry today. Not only are warehouse workers dealing with evolving customer demand and the upcoming holiday shopping period, but the impact of Brexit is also being felt with growing inventories as firms stockpile goods from the European Union. Without the necessary equipment to implement the changes needed at this time, the risk of workplace injury becomes even greater as employees work faster and longer.
Warehouse injuries can vary from short term muscle injury to long term and chronic conditions. Improved health and safety is one of the best ways to minimise this risk.