Today is National Forklift Safety Day, but accidents will still happen, and in the warehouse and distribution industries, it is a matter of when — not if — one will occur.
On average 250 individuals are killed each year due to workplace accidents. Another 150,000 sustain major injuries that result in three or more days off from work. But, the warehousing industry’s fatal-injury rate is higher than the national average for all other industries combined.
Forklifts are the primary reason. The forklift is probably the most dangerous vehicle in a warehouse, with the total number of lift-truck-related injuries averaging more than 96,000 each year.
Why impact protocol is necessary
When a forklift has encountered an impact, it’s important to complete a thorough investigation to determine the cause, to create preventive action for the future, and to gather documentation for required OSHA reports. A checklist of required protocol should be completed.
Include the following steps:
- Gather the information - What happened? Who was involved? Where did it happen?
- Analyze the information - Use 5 Whys approach, a technique used to drill down to the root cause of the impact.
- Identify corrective measures - What can be done to avoid similar impacts in the future?
- Determine an action plan and how to implement - What safety measures will be taken and how will they be implemented, communicated, and tracked?
How telematics helps document, lock down, and analyze details
In the event of an impact or injury, you want to ensure certain protocol is followed and details are captured. Telematics does this through:
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 there were successful safety-checklist completions, critical safety-checklist failures, non-critical safety-checklist failures, and safety-checklist reset/bypass events.
Lock down vehicle and dig for root cause
Software like CommandPulseDX offers an impact widget, where KPIs can be set to alert managers of severe impacts per-active-hour. This allows you to quickly identify the root cause of incidents and how to prevent further events. Charting impacts over a period of time provides data that determines operator vs. truck issues. You also gain:
- Operator report card: Records an operator’s performance and improvements. Tracks continuous improvement by an individual operator, group, or site.
- Lock down: Prevents vehicle from operation until it is cleared.
- Maintenance report card: Tracks vehicle goals like battery monitoring, impacts, and fleet utilization.
According to the Labour Force Survey, more than 40 million working days are lost through work-related injuries and ill health, costing businesses $3.2 billion. If your enterprise uses telematics to investigate impacts — learning from them and developing preventative solutions — both money and lives can be saved.