Next-gen safety

10 July 2024

The evolving role of technology in securing a safer intralogistics sector, explored by Gavin Carslake.

THE INTRALOGISTICS sector has always been a catalyst for innovation, inspiring technological advancements that have, and continue to, enhance efficiency, throughput and other key factors. 

Safety considerations are also central to the industry, with leaders exploring strategies to reduce the risks to operators and minimise potential damage to racking, goods, and equipment.

With the creation of new technologies ramping up, the question is how breakthrough developments – including early warning systems, automation and headline-grabbing Artificial Intelligence – can be used to further mitigate potential dangers and bring about the next-generation of safety for the sector.


Artificial Intelligence has become a major point of focus within the intralogistics sphere and, if applied correctly, can help optimise all areas of the sector – including safety. That said, it’s not as simple as integrating the burgeoning tech into a warehousing environment and taking your hands off the wheel. 

AI needs to be fed. The more data you give it, the wider its ‘knowledge base’ becomes and the better it is at anticipating trends – or, in this context, dangers. To realise the full potential of AI in securing a safer industry, we need to be better at measuring all elements of operations. 

For instance, by asking AI to analyse data gathered through a comprehensive network of cameras or sensors, we could use the tech to identify potential blind spots or risks that may have gone unnoticed and reduce accidents waiting to happen. 

Removing risk

Automation and the continued move toward ‘smart’ facilities is reducing human involvement in warehouses – and while you’d expect fewer people to mean less risk, this is not a fix-all solution to secure absolute safety. 

In a recent whitepaper, which Linde produced entitled A Smarter Approach to Safety in the High-Tech Warehouse, it was highlighted that complacency around automation is a danger in itself. 

As part of the expert report, RTITB Managing Director Laura Nelson said machines and systems can sometimes go wrong and so we cannot move forward with the presumption that, just because a warehouse function is automated, we don’t need to deliver training to workers. 

She also addressed some of the unique challenges associated with people working in automated spaces – including how generational attitudes might see older operators suspicious of new developments and younger operators, who have grown up with tech, taking unsafe actions due to over-confidence. 

On the radar

Warehouses can be inherently hazardous environments, with anything from excessive speeds to low visibility creating potential risks, and leaders in the intralogistics sector have been using evolving technology to counter these dangers. 

For instance, Linde Material Handling has launched its ‘Safety Guard’ assistance system, which can reduce the risk of accidents by establishing speed control zones and using transmitters on vehicles, racking and personnel to identify and warn against any potential collisions. 

Linde has also developed a Reverse Assist Radar system which detects obstructions behind counterbalanced trucks and automatically stops the vehicle if there are any hazards. 

Why invest in safety? 

People expect to be safe in the workplace and safety therefore should be a major consideration for any business operating in the intralogistics sector. 

If they don’t invest in safety, companies will struggle to recruit talent and the wellbeing of their existing employees will suffer. Evolving technology offers a chance to elevate safety to the next level and those who don’t keep up will be left behind. 

Gavin Carslake, project manager for safety solutions, Linde Material Handling

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