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Distribution Center Reduces Injuries and Cuts Workers' Compensation Costs 94%

Injuries fell from 180 per year to just 31 after trainers showed warehouse workers how to protect themselves.

(Boonton, NJ, August 19, 2010) — Back in 2005, technology provider CDW noticed a troubling trend. Workers in its Chicago-area DC were working long and hard to get orders out, but they did so at a steep cost. In that year, the company had 180 injuries in its 520-worker DC. Workers' compensation costs totaled $1.45 million.

Troy Appel, tells industry newsletter Distribution Center Management, that "a hero mentality" dominated in the DC. "People rose to the occasion every day," Appel says. "Safety was more of a secondary thing."

Appel, CDW's director of central distribution, brought in outside trainers to cut injuries. And, the results are eye-popping: By 2009, CDW had slashed injuries to 31 and cut workers' compensation costs to $80,000.

Appel says he is pleased with the results, in large part because the savings have been so large compared to the investment. Many consultants recommend spending millions redesigning their DCs, but this training and education approach aims to reduce injuries without any physical changes to the warehouse.

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