Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Why Forklift Safety Training Fails & What You Can Do

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Jan 2, 2019 4:00:00 AM

With more than 92 fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. each week, forklift safety training is a priority. But it isn’t always effective as it should be. Here’s why. forklift-748598_640-1

Training is repetitive and boring. 


After extended time on the job, many forklift operators feel that they don’t need refresher training. But, when a job requires repetitive tasks, complacency can sneak up on even the best operators. The problem is that typical refresher training is repetitive and boring for seasoned forklift operators 

Safety training will fail to do its job successfully if your operators are not engaged and interested in the information being discussed.  Even a fun, online safety training word game can be a productive retrieval exercise that reinforces training and makes it more effective in the long term.  

Here are some proven methods to effective training: 

  • Laughter – Add humor to your training course with funny videos or photos that show operators making mistakes. Laughs can lead to learning. 
  • A team challenge - Introduce games into your training plan. Creating teams that compete with their knowledge of forklifts and safety allows for operators to be engaged during the training.  
  • Recognition – Acknowledge and reward those who did well in the training. Publish winners' names on a notice board.  

Training doesn’t address specific needs. 


Each operator has his/her own skill deficits and training needs. Often a one-size-fits-all approach to training is not effective to correct everyone’s challenges and skill deficiencies. What works is to create a program of customized training that will address individual needs for improvement. 

So, identifying each driver’s specific training needs is key to engaging them in training information. You can identify specific deficits easily with the use of telematic operator report cards. 

Telematic report cards identify: 

  • New training needs – material that covers new items like warehouse changes, OSHA changes, new equipment  
    Targeted retraining needs – areas where your operators are falling short or are complacent  
    Just-in-time training needs – like operator recertification and regulatory training (anytime there is new equipment) 

Training methods are rigid. 

Training can fail because not everyone learns and retains information in the same way. Always present safety training in a variety of styles, delivery methods, and experiences.  

Active learning is a key adult learning principle and includes: 

  • Interactive games throughout the training that inspire recall of information previously discussed 
  • Real-life demonstrations providing visual reinforcement to learning  
  • Group and two-way discussions for those who don’t retain written information 
  • Improving your safety training is worth the effort 

Safety training for forklift operators and other employees will deliver ROI. One study estimates that for every dollar an enterprise spends on workplace safety training, it may see $2- $6 in returns for injury prevention and avoiding costly damage to equipment or trucks. 

Forklift safety training has to be interesting and engage operators for it be fully effective. Leverage your telematic data to focus on what each operator needs and to create interesting, focused training designed to prevent accidents. 

Topics: forklift operators, operator report card, limit risks, operator behavior, safety training, safety improvements, human error, operator training

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