Why and How You Should Track Warehouse Safety KPIs
How effective are your warehouse’s operational processes, workflows and workers? Where are your facility’s biggest efficiencies—and inefficiencies? How far can you push workers and equipment to achieve operational goals without sacrificing warehouse safety?
While operational-efficiency improvements are critical for warehouses that want to adapt quickly to market demand, save money, optimize square footage and drive productivity, these advancements mustn’t come at the cost of worker well-being.
Balancing warehouse safety and operational efficiency: a real example
Consider a large logistics company as an example. While this company was set up for excellent operational efficiency—optimizing everything from the use of robotics to the amount of space between employees—it also had a high injury rate.
It was revealed that workers in these warehouse facilities were injured at a much higher rate than others across the country. In fact, several of this company’s employees report having to take unpaid time off to recover from pain or injuries suffered on the job.
Why is this happening? It’s likely due to several factors: feelings of burnout, growing pressure to work faster and lingering staff shortages (workers attempting to get more work done to make up for those who aren’t there).
Ironically, these injuries and their resultant time off negatively impact worker productivity, which ultimately hampers the operational efficiency that warehouses and distribution centers work so hard to maintain.
How KPIs bring safety into focus
Measuring operational efficiency in warehouses and distribution centers helps you not only evaluate and improve the performance of your business, but also strengthen safety efforts by reducing potential hazards and the possibility of accidents or injuries.
The only way to understand how your warehouse or distribution center is functioning in terms of safety—and to make sure you aren’t pushing employees too hard—is to measure specific key performance indicators (KPIs) over time. As you track things like inventory and order management to gauge productivity, accuracy and costs, you can also monitor safety KPIs in real-time to gauge your work environment.
The ability to view KPI progress as it occurs—so you can see exactly what’s happening with warehouse safety at any point—makes it easy to notice when a certain safety KPI falls outside pre-defined parameters so it can be fixed.
Measure these warehouse safety KPIs
Tracking warehouse safety KPIs helps you measure your organization’s efforts to maintain a safe environment, comply with standards, enhance operational efficiency, lower insurance premiums and protect your most valuable asset: your people. Here are some of the safety KPIs you should consider monitoring to improve warehouse safety.
Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR)
This KPI measures the number of reported safety incidents compared to the number of workers and number of hours worked.
The KPI range for TRIR is around 3.0 per 100 employees (the lower, the better). In case of the logistics company, its TRIR is nearly twice this level.
What the KPI allows you to do:
- Assess and address the cause of incidents, such as equipment breakdowns
- Determine whether certain processes or workflows may be better handled through automation or automated guided vehicles (AGVs)
- Evaluate whether new types of safety tools or gear are necessary
- Lower your insurance and worker’s compensation rates based on improvements
Time since last incident
This KPI measures the amount of time between employee safety incidents in your facility.
The KPI range for time since last incident varies based on the size of the warehouse and number of workers. The real-life target should be around 365 days (the longer, the better).
What the KPI allows you to do:
- Determine the average length of time your warehouse operates without a safety incident
- Verify which areas or teams may need additional safety training
- Tie performance to incentives and reward workers when milestones or improvements are achieved
- Discover where patterns exist (incidents occur most often during overtime, on backshifts, when new employees start, etc.)
We can help you understand safety KPIs
Safety is a big deal—just as important as operational efficiency. Rising numbers of near-misses and injuries are early indicators that a significant injury could occur. These incidents can cost your operation millions of dollars.
Belden’s in-house team of automation and solutions consultants has decades of combined experience in industrial automation and warehouse safety. We know which KPIs matter, how to gather data to support them, and what it takes for you to acquire, transmit, orchestrate and manage that data so it can be displayed and understood quickly.
Once we’ve worked our magic, you’ll know the status of your warehouse safety—no matter where you are.