How digital racking inspection ensures warehouse safety
Many organisations are now implementing digital racking inspection to ensure safety compliance within their warehouses.
Businesses across multiple industries often have facilities that store large amounts of material, products, parts, or equipment. Many of these companies are now using paperless inspection solutions, making it simpler to fulfil all the necessary management and safety inspection checklists that are required.
Not only do management teams know that all inspectors and staff are using the same checklist and smart tools to capture data, but the speed and ease of inspection is increased for the end user. Replacing the pen and paper method, digital racking inspection and warehouse safety solutions are fast becoming the go-to method of ensuring that all staff and facilities are working safely according to regulations and rules.
What are the risks?
For many facilities such as warehouses or storage locations, there are often vast containers, racking or structures that are designed to home large amounts of material, products, or machinery. Routine inspection of these facilities is paramount — not only for the safety of the worker operating within the vicinity of the assemblies, but also to ensure that whatever is being stored is being stored in the correct manner. If there is moisture or incorrect ventilation reaching the storage of some manufacturing produce, it may affect the final quality of the product.
Equally, if machinery is allowed to be left standing in a wet area or near a hazardous zone, it could be disastrous for the performance and lifespan of the equipment. There are also obvious safety reasons for carrying out inspection around warehouses and similar facilities; while racking and storage is often efficient, it can be extremely dangerous if set up incorrectly. When forklifts and staff are moving about an area, incidents can occur which demand that sufficient inspection has been carried out before and after.
How does it work?
Using a mobile device, inspectors can carry out any type of site audit, including racking safety (for example, as per AS 4084-2012 Steel Storage Racking), safety check or facility maintenance procedure. The device camera can be used to take pictures or scan barcodes/RFID, while the checklist itself can be set up to generate timestamps at the time of inspection. The checklist can also provide guidance (for example the traffic light system for non-conform or defects as per the standard recommendation).
Outside of the regular instructions for a particular check, standards, manuals, ‘how-tos’ or regulations can be attached to each inspection checklist sub-section, which means that the field officer will always have the right guidance at the time. This also means that for management looking to comply with a particular racking standard provided by a national or international standard association (AS 4084-2012 Steel Storage Racking), the checklist can be designed to meet the criteria. If the checklist and inspection is passed, it can automatically be used as a demonstration in compliance, and a clear data point in the audit trail.
As well as proactive triggers and email notifications, which can alert necessary personnel such as maintenance and repair teams if a particular rack or equipment fails to pass a check, checklists can often have corrective actions and recommendations. These can be pre-configured to suggest an action for the inspection personnel at the time of the check, to mitigate an incident or issue. This means that management and maintenance teams can safely assume that the inspector will discover the issue as quickly as possible, and then be enabled to take the best possible action to address the issue.
Acting as a failsafe, this can drastically reduce the scale of an incident — and could mean the difference between being able to repair a racking unit, or having to replace the whole thing. The proactive triggers and notifications can also be designed to alert any staff about the issue, highlighting a safety hazard.
Whether an organisation operates within a vast warehouse hosting materials for construction, or houses some lifting equipment in a smaller facility, it is imperative to have effective warehouse safety and/or digital racking inspection. The best way to ensure that this has been set up to effectively cater to business needs and requirements, is to partner with a provider that is able to tailor the solution. This means taking all of the organisation’s regulatory obligations, operations and structures into account, then providing a solution to deliver tangible and intangible benefits.
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