Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Identify and Prevent Forklift Operator Complacency

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Nov 29, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Enforcing safety protocols and planning for ongoing operator training may be part of your workday, but are these efforts effective? Maybe not. Statistically, one in 10 forklifts will be involved in an accident this year, and approximately 100,000 workers will be injured due to improper training or complacency on the job.hands-2586507_640

It’s important to remember that anytime there is poor behavior on the warehouse floor, it increases the risk of your facility becoming part of that accident statistic. Every time drivers exceed forklift weight capacity, fail to recognize space constraints while carrying a load, or become increasingly unaware of their surroundings, the risk of injuries increases exponentially.

So, what steps can a warehouse manager take to address what is going wrong with safety and why?

Begin with these steps:
  1. Create effective training

Individuals learn differently, so it’s helpful to provide a variety of training programs, including hands-on learning, group/team discussions, demonstrations, and visual presentations. Don’t rely on one-and-done training. Space training out and repeat it.

  1. Identify risks using telematic data analysis

Documentation on recent impacts, near misses, or injuries can be used with location data to determine where and why incidents typically occur. Knowing the root cause of safety challenges helps you avoid them.

  1. Use optical location for all forklifts

Optical location data records the speed and location of a forklift in real-time and provides historical data for violations, such as entering pedestrian zones without slowing or stopping or entering an unauthorized location.

This data identifies patterns of behavior that lead mishaps. It tracks individual operators, identifying their skill deficits and driving habits that could be a risk to safety.

Who is at the greatest risk?

Most operators are not aware when they can become complacent about safety. Their minds simply wander because of the repetitive nature of the job. You can combat this by identifying drivers who show signs of complacency and creating a heightened awareness across your facility about recognizing the warning signs.

Look for evidence of:

  1. Poor spatial awareness

If an operator displays poor judgment in determining if a load size is appropriate, especially if their perception and judgment about load safety has been accurate and trustworthy in the past, their spatial awareness is declining.

  1. Recklessness

Routine or repetitive routes throughout an operator's shift can result in them driving faster, cutting corners too sharply, and not paying attention to what’s going on around them.

  1. Lack of awareness about pedestrians and hazards

Once driving a forklift becomes routine and complacency sets in, operators may ignore or be unaware of potential hazards.

According to OSHA, there are approximately 85 forklift-related fatalities each year. Your telematics software can help you identify risky behaviors and operators in need of safety reminders or more training before an accident occurs.

Topics: forklift operators, operator report card, operator behavior, safety training, safety versus productivity, safety improvements

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