Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

How to Design Training to Fit Forklift Operator Needs

Posted by Thelma Marshall on May 8, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Forklift drivers need ongoing training to help them avoid complacency and to remember protocol specific to the forklift(s) they operate. So, your organization should view refresher training as a valuable tool, not just another requirement dictated by OSHA. forklift right size

Simply put, OSHA requires certain training because it has proven to increase safety in what is considered a relatively dangerous work environment — the warehouse. With quality training, accidents are reduced, and injuries are avoided.

Here are the basics to remember:

  • Forklift operators must be trained and certified to operate the vehicle they use in the workplace, and operator performance must be evaluated every three years.
  • Refresher training is required by OSHA’s regulation 1910.178(l) when drivers are found to be operating unsafely, have been in an accident or near-miss, score poorly on their 3-year evaluation, or if there are changes in the workplace or type of truck.
  • It is estimated that 20 - 25% of the accidents are, at least in part, caused by inadequate training.
  • Training should not be random information. Each of your forklift operators has specific skills at which they excel and areas that need work.
  • Personalities can differ, too, from the most safety-conscious driver to the fast-driving risk-taker. All of this should be factored into how you approach each training session and the material you cover.

So, to do this well, you need to identify each driver’s need for improvement and then customize training to address those needs. There is so much to be gained by monitoring drivers and knowing exactly what issues are increasing safety risks or slowing warehouse productivity.

6 steps to developing a training plan to fit forklift driver needs

  1. Monitor vehicles and operators with telematics to provide a clear picture of training needs based on facts instead of guesswork.
  2. Identify which operators have a need for speed. The advanced location feature within your telematics platform should identify operators that fail to adhere to speed limits or stop/slow-down zones.
  3. Determine your forklift driver honor roll and those that need extra help to make the grade. Operator Report Cards use KPIs to determine each operator’s overall performance.
  4. Know when Operator Certifications are required. Monitor which drivers are certified to operate which forklifts and attachments.
  5. Factor in all telematic safety reports. This should identify impact frequency and any near-miss trends associated with specific drivers.
  6. Identify who has been involved in an actual impact. Use unit-specific alerts and reports that provide data on vehicle, operator, impact severity, and location of each impact.

Once you know who needs refresher training and why, customize the training to address their specific skill deficits or behavioral issues. Keep it simple and tailored to what each operator needs to know. Advanced telematics can be instrumental in monitoring and determining forklift operator needs, providing clear direction on how to address training quickly and easily.

Topics: forklift operators, operator report card, operator behavior, safety training, lean, routing, historic data

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