Accidents can happen in any workplace, but the warehousing industry’s fatal-injury rate is higher than the national average for all other industries combined. The workers that face these risks every day know it is probably a matter of when — not if — an accident will occur on the job.
Between tall stacks of inventory and the forklifts that move it all around, there are ideal conditions for accidents and injuries. Each year, forklifts play a role in more than 96,000 work-related injuries, so it is important to prepare for when an accident occurs.
Create a warehouse accident response plan
When a forklift impact occurs in your warehouse, there should be a warehouse accident response plan in place to ensure it is handled correctly.
Managers should respond immediately to determine if anyone is hurt and to make certain other workers stay clear of the area unless their help is needed. Injuries should be assessed. This could include mean anything from determining if an ice pack or a bandage is needed to a trip to the ER.
Remember, an injured employee can downplay the severity of the injury but later claim that medical help should have been called. It is important to call for professional medical help if the injury requires more than simple first aid.
Compile information about the accident. What happened? Who was involved? Where did it happen? Analyze the information using the 5 Whys approach, a technique used to drill down to the root cause of the impact.
Keep evidence of the accident, such as equipment. Pictures of the scene and all injuries should be documented. Get an impact summary for both forklift and operator, including impacts, average warning value (G-Force), and total number of impacts that have occurred with this operator or vehicle.
See if the driver had successful safety-checklist completions, critical safety-checklist failures, non-critical safety-checklist failures, and safety-checklist reset/bypass events.
Identify what corrective measures could prevent the accident from reoccurring. Plan how to implement the corrective action, how it will be communicated, and if safety improvements can be tracked through your telematics system.
Use your telematics platform to document, analyze and determine action
Telematics software can provide the analysis needed to drill down to the root cause of incidents and determine what action is needed to prevent them from reoccurring. In fact, charting impacts over a period of time will show exactly where change is needed. It provides:
- A maintenance report card: Tracks battery usage, impacts, and whether repairs are completed as soon as they are identified.
- An operator report card: Records an operator’s performance, habits, challenges and where there were improvements in performance.
- Vehicle lock down: Prevents vehicle from operation after an impact until it is cleared.
If your enterprise uses telematics to support its accident-response plan, you can thoroughly document any accident, determine the cause, and decide if changes could improve safety for your employees.