Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Remove Telematic Language Barriers to Improve Warehouse Safety

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Sep 25, 2018 4:00:00 AM

According to OSHA regulations, all employees must have warehouse safety training and materials in a language that they can understand. Can your telematic software platform provide this? Yes, it can.  translate-110777_640

While it’s possible to translate all literature for employees facing a language barrier, a large void in safety still exists if telematic checklists aren’t accessible in other languages. Simply put, telematic language barriers impact warehouse safety.

In the United States, 37.6 million people speak Spanish and 1 in 5 Americans don’t speak English at home. Many businesses have employees where English is their second language, and communications can be misinterpreted. When the subject is safety, this can be dangerous, especially for forklift operators.

Warehouse dangers increase if there are language barriers

About one in ten forklifts are involved in accidents every year, causing almost 100,000 injuries annually. Operators need reminders, checklists, periodic retraining, and best practices reinforced in a language they fully understand.

A telematic system that provides this level of support helps prevent operator complacency, mechanical issues, impacts, and associated repairs. But it only works if everyone can understand the information it provides. This is especially true of safety checklists, which are required by OSHA because they lower the risk of accidents and injuries due to mechanical failures.

You can’t avoid a risk if you don’t know it exists. Imagine if a forklift operator ignores parts of a safety checklist every day because he doesn’t understand what it says. Shift managers may not even know this is happening, and it increases the risk of injury to anyone working in the area, including the operator.

Safety checklists can break the language barrier

Completing thorough safety checklists before driving lift-trucks is an important safety requirement. Some telematic platforms can lock the vehicle if it fails a safety check. The list typically includes essential functions for safety, like brakes, steering, controls, warning devices, and tires. A telematic checklist offered in multiple languages ensures that the list gets completed and crucial safety issues will not go unnoticed.

Software platforms like Totaltrax’s SX200 can be accessed in Canadian French, Spanish, and German, which allows forklift operators to read the safety checklists in a language familiar to them. This enables them to complete the OSHA-required checklist effectively before they operate the forklift.

Avoiding even just one work-related injury could save your organization $38,000 in direct expenses and $150,000 in indirect costs. It is estimated that about  70% of all forklift accidents can be avoided with proper training combined with understandable insight and safety processes for all workers. Communication in a language that everyone can understand is key.

Topics: telematic data, limit risks, forklift operators, safety training, safety improvements, injuries, dangers of forklift operation, operator training, telematics diagnostics

Read More