Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

How to Identify and Rein in Risk-Takers in a Warehouse Facility

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Nov 28, 2017 4:00:00 AM

What happens when an employee takes risks within your facility? The answer is simple: It allows someone’s unexpected actions to take control over what happens next. It can be one of the greatest challenges to everyone’s safety. skydiving-2050217_640.jpg

There is a psychology to being a risk-taker. And there are specific reasons some operators are more likely to take risks than others. In order to rein it all in, you need to identify the underlying motivation driving these actions in your warehouse.

Here’s how to limit risks:

There are certain qualities that can help you identify those employees who may be taking risks in your facility.

  • Conscientiousness: Look for the amount of detail the individual puts into his/her work. The less detail, the more apt the person is to take shortcuts.
  • Cognitive awareness: Attitudes can influence action. How aware is the individual of his/her own attitudes and beliefs?
  • Neuroticism: An employee who shows moodiness and anxiety could be a risk-taker. Emotional fluctuations and paranoia can detract from procedural awareness and action.
  • Stress tolerance: Having the ability to stay calm, even in highly stressful situations, is critical to safety. An individual who gets stressed easily may not follow the rules.
  • Behavioral drift: An individual who gets comfortable due to experience may start to drift away from learned or trained behavior.

Whether the cause is related to stress, mood, or driver complacency, risk-taking plays a significant role in the number — about 20,000 workers — that are injured in forklift accidents each year.

What drives the risk-takers, and what can you do to address it?

As a manager it’s important to identify anything that increases safety risks in your facility and to find a solution to address it. But risk-takers can be harder to pinpoint than risky situations.

You can begin by identifying risk-takers through telematics. For example:

  • Reckless driving and operation – Data is key in determining drivers who tend to be reckless. Observing bad behavior can be substantiated with operator report cards that provide data on speeding, not stopping in stop zones, number of severe impacts, and safety checklist completions.
  • Not observing surroundings – Many accidents occur when operators just aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. It could be they’re wrapped up in their handheld devices, hurrying to complete a job, or are just unaware of facility changes.

Telematic data can also provide a base for completing a root-cause analysis for impacts or accidents caused by a single operator.

Rein in the risk-takers with facts and training 

Proactive fleet management requires taking steps to avoid any potential risk in the work environment — even those caused by drivers’ behavior or attitude.

This means ongoing monitoring and communication between you and your workforce.

Here’s how:

  • Review operator report cards with employees to help identify key risk areas.
  • Communicate facility changes to employees.
  • Involve employees in the communication process.
  • Identify areas where further training is needed.
  • Complete a root cause analysis — Use the “5 Why” process to identify why risks are being taken and devise a plan to remove the risk.

Horseplay and irresponsible driving should be addressed immediately by identifying risky behaviors with telematic monitoring. Armed with insight, you can communicate exactly what must change, what training is needed, and your expectations that support a safer work environment.


Topics: forklift tracking, psychology of safety, operator behavior, operator report card, limit risks

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