The safety and well-being of office employees are often prioritized in the business world.
However, the protection of your blue-collar workers is just as important and should be at the
forefront of your advocacy efforts.
Every day, warehouse workers face occupational hazards like slips and falls, malfunctioning
equipment, using heavy materials, and much more. Making sure those workers are treated with
dignity and respect, and prioritizing their safety should be something you take seriously.
As a leader in your organization, you might wonder what you could be doing to ensure that your
company’s warehouse workers are getting the support they need. Let’s cover some things you
can do to advocate for those employees.
Advocate for Benefits
One of the best ways to advocate for your warehouse employees is to learn more about what
they really want. There’s often a sizable disparity between the benefits of in-office employees
and warehouse workers. Some of the basic benefits your blue-collar employees want include:
- A company-matched retirement plan
- Emotional and mental health programs
- Career development opportunities
Making sure your warehouse workers feel respected and understood will help to increase
productivity and loyalty to your company.
If your warehouse employees are interested in unionizing, don’t immediately try to shut down
those efforts. Instead, support them and work with them to create realistic negotiations and
expectations to bring to the heads of the company. You’re in a leadership position, but your
loyalty should remain with your workers, not against them. It’s far too common for warehouses
to underpay their employees in an effort to get “cheap labor.” If you notice that happening, stick
with your workers as they attempt to unionize and receive a fair salary and benefits.
We talked about some of the potential risks of working in a warehouse above. Because of those
risks (and others), prioritizing the safety of your employees is a must.
Having safety procedures and preventative measures in place should be your first course of action. Follow this with proper training and ensuring every employee knows how to use the equipment correctly and follow all safety rules.
It’s also imperative to have the right safety equipment throughout the warehouse to remind your
employees how they can protect themselves. That includes things like:
- Proper storage spaces
- Signing and labels
- First aid kits
- Traffic visibility mirrors
- Emergency wash stations
Don’t wait for an accident to happen to put these things in place. By setting up preventative
measures and prioritizing safety, you’re telling your warehouse workers that you’re actually
As a manager, you might not be able to change the way your entire company runs. However,
when you have warehouse workers under your care, you should be willing to do whatever it
takes to make sure they’re treated with the same respect as their office counterparts. Keep
these ideas in mind and don’t be afraid to advocate for change as necessary. Not only will your
workers appreciate you for it, but you could end up changing the entire course of your company
for the better.
About the Author: Dan Matthews is a contributor to Workplace Fairness. This blog is posted with the author’s permission.