Supply chain sustainability refers to effectively managing the social, economic, and environmental factors within an organisation’s supply chain. A very important aspect of this sustainability initiative is recognising and acknowledging the link between a manufacturing company and the broader ecosystem they may be impacting – and then coming up with responsible business practices to make all aspects of the supply chain sustainable.
Why there needs to be an increased focus on H&S in manufacturing
According to an HSE report, around 54,000 workers are involved in non-fatal accidents in the manufacturing sector each year. Most of the injuries they suffer are a direct result of manual handling accidents, trips, slips, and falls, contact with moving machinery, and being struck by moving objects.
Between 2021 and 2022, there were, unfortunately, 22 worker deaths in manufacturing, most of which were a direct result of falls from height, being struck by moving objects, and contact with moving machinery. Furthermore, around 92,000 cases of ill-health at the workplace are reported every year, with 40% of concerns revolving around musculoskeletal disorders. Cases of anxiety, stress, and depression are also on the rise among those working in manufacturing.
Why manufacturing businesses need to start focusing more on health & safety
Before anything else, let’s bring to light some of the potential benefits of increasing health and safety measures in a manufacturing environment:
- Reduction in costs associated with illnesses, injuries, accidents, stress, or other issues caused by inadequate H&S protocols
- Lower insurance premiums, allowing businesses to redirect or invest those resources elsewhere
- Improved brand perception, reputation, and consumer trust
- Higher morale and productivity in the workplace
There’s a lot manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, and logistics businesses can do to improve their health and safety standards, starting with:
More data collection
One of the first steps you can take to improve occupational H&S is to better understand the unique risks present in your workplace. Specific data collection practices such as electronic logs and IoT (Internet of Things) sensors sending data straight to your device, can offer a lot of insights on where or how accidents occur, and how to mitigate those risks.
There are now apps and digital platforms available that feed safety data into AI (artificial intelligence) algorithms, where the program might consider thousands to millions of scenarios in the blink of an eye, thus, highlighting the most effective measures to take in terms of health and safety.
Interestingly, one of the biggest barriers to safety in manufacturing and logistics is communication. After all, logistics networks can be complex systems, so it can be difficult to understand the hazards as they emerge.
However, again, there are systems and apps that exist to consolidate communications and reports into a single platform where everyone can stay up to date and stay on the same page regarding the latest safety policies or potential risks, for example.
Reviewing safety measures on a regular basis
Implementing the right safety controls isn’t enough. Manufacturing and supply chain businesses should always review their policies on a regular basis – at least every year if not bi-annually or every quarter. With growing facilities and rising demand, safety considerations may shift at the drop of a hat, which means reviewing data regularly can highlight specific trends that can help you make better decisions around H&S.
HS Manager is an easy-to-use app that makes health and safety inspections simple. Schedule inspections digitally to save time, replace paper forms and improve communication, boost performance and productivity, and ultimately, carry out H&S inspections a lot faster and more efficiently.
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As we eagerly look to a bright and productive year ahead, the UK’s logistics sector is at a bit of crossroads, so to speak, poised for disruption amid a backdrop of regulatory shifts, technological evolution, and global economic dynamics.
In a recent report released by The Manufacturers’ Organisation, half of the companies surveyed are upping their investment in automation technologies, especially AI and ML, with almost ¾ of companies now spending more openly on automation across multiple technologies and functions – from product design and development to manufacturing and warehousing operations.
Organisations working in high-risk industries like manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, and logistics, are well aware of the risks and potential hazards their workers face each day. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, many businesses do not have the appropriate health and safety controls to minimise risk and hazards at the workplace.
It is estimated that the logistics industry will grow at a CAGR of 10-12%, reaching a value of $380 million by 2025. A large driver of this growth will be technology and automation – from robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI), better integration of the various ecosystems involved, digitisation of processes, and more.
Supply chain inspections often prove to be a challenge, even for leading, well-established companies. However, standardisation has now become one of the chief methods of optimising the greater supply chain and ensuring that all managers, departments, and teams are on the same page.
According to a 2019 report published by the Journal of International Logistics and Trade, political unrest are among the leading causes of supply chain disruptions. A SAP survey reported that 58% of US business leaders believe supply chain problems primarily stem due to global political unrest.
Even though a myriad of digital processes have been introduced across many industries in the UK economy, a recent report indicates that at least 96% of UK manufacturers believe there is an underinvestment in technology and digitisation in their sector.
Did you know that manufacturers are still using paper in more than a third (35%) of their processes on average? What’s more, manual spreadsheets are still used for nearly half (49%) of all manufacturing-related processes.
If you think about, warehouses and everyone working within those walls, are the unsung heroes of supply chain and distribution. Without quality warehouses equipped with the latest technology, we would not be enjoying the super-fast at-home deliveries or products being available on shelves almost on a 24/7 basis.