Everybody can benefit from occasional reminders, but with forklift operators, a reminder could mean life or death.
Safety reminders are an effective way to combat driver complacency, a common problem for those who do repetitive, yet dangerous, tasks throughout their workday. National Forklift Safety Day, an annual event set for Tuesday June 11, 2019 was created to inspire warehouse managers across the country to take a closer look at operator safety and training deficits in their facility.
The day of safety also provides an opportunity for forklift manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts, the importance of operator training, and the need for daily equipment checks.
Why forklift safety reminders matter
Your most seasoned forklift operators probably tell you that they already know the basics of forklift safety, but they may not realize that complacency can sneak in. They become comfortable with the risk and what they do each day. That comfort can erode the foundational steps they would normally take for safe operation of a lift-truck.
Why National Forklift Safety day should matter to you:
- The warehousing industry’s fatal-injury rate is higher than the national average for all other industries combined. Forklifts are a major cause of this risk.
- Reminders, refresher training, and open dialogue regarding hazards on the job can prevent accidents!
- Potential hazards can change and may include unsafe use of forklifts, improper stacking of products, failure to use proper personal protective equipment, and failure to follow proper lockout/tagout.
- Forklift operators face the risk of serious injury, or even death, every day.
Here is what you can do to protect them
1. Train and certify each driver for the truck they are using.
Drivers using trucks they are not trained to operate can result in costly accidents. Deploy a telematics system that equips forklifts with an identification-card reader, limiting vehicle access to appropriately trained operators.
- Operator certifications can be required before an operator can use a particular vehicle model.
- The vehicle can be locked out if the operator is not in compliance.
2. Create a culture of safety that requires safety checklist completion.
Make it mandatory, no matter what, that a detailed safety checklist is completed before forklift operation. Items to include on the list are any deficits with brakes, steering, controls, warning devices and tires.
- If there are any repair issues, the forklift should not be operated until it is repaired. This where telematic lockout/tagout is invaluable.
3. Provide constant reminders that loads must be stabilized.
This is an error that can result in serious injury or death. Operators must remember to:
- Ensure each load is tilted back with the forks sitting low during transport. This increases truck stability.
- Check for any objects overhead before lifting or stacking loads.
- Understand the limits of the pallet racking systems to avoid overloading them.
About 70% of all forklift accidents can be avoided with proper training, insight and processes. To serve as a reminder, National Forklift Safety Day is held each June, highlighting the importance for training and safety protocol in saving lives, costly injuries, and impacts.