Working in a warehouse is one of the more dangerous occupations, considering the average number of injuries and accidents that occur annually. And with increasing consumer demand requiring greater speed and agility from employees, it is more important than ever to deploy methods that protect your assets, inventory and operators.
From lockout/tagout functionality to safety checklists, there are ways to prevent costly mistakes, mechanical issues or injuries to forklift operators.
- Distractibility and complacency are a big risk factor. Warehouse shifts often exceed 8 hours. Employees often work overnight shifts, so fatigue and doing a repetitive task create the perfect environment for distracted driving or complacency.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 95 million people miss work each year due to on-the-job injury — and warehousing tops the list of dangerous occupations.
- About 20,000 workers are injured in forklift accidents alone each year, and 25% of those accidents happen when a forklift overturns.
- The top causes of pallet jack failure include: damage from the forklift, racks overloaded, racks with altered configurations, not using the equipment correctly, buying a smaller rack capacity in order to save money, and faulty equipment.
- It is common to neglect safety checklists when workers are on a tight schedule.
- OSHA reports up to 3 out of 10 employers have no lockout/tagout program in place, and on average, workers lose 24 work days for recuperation due to injuries caused by machinery not being properly shut off or locked down.
Watching your assets
Telematic monitoring systems provide operator data, warnings and trends, allowing management to implement a risk-mitigation plan.
- Today’s software can enforce the completion of safety checklists by stopping vehicle operation if the operator skips steps, if the forklift has a mechanical issue, or if the driver fails to complete safety protocol.
- A telematic lockout/tag out function makes vehicles inoperable during safety check questions, repairs, or maintenance. Safety, maintenance, and unit reports can also provide data on why a forklift is in lockout, the duration, and the operator, putting you in control of compliance.
- Determining the appropriate size of a load is often based on an operator’s experience level, training and visual perception. Telematic data can help determine if there are notable patterns and trends among certain operators where poor judgement resulted in an accident, damage to inventory, or worker injury.
- Routine or repetitive routes throughout an operator's shift can have them going a little faster, cutting corners too sharply, and not paying attention to what’s going on around them. A telematics software system can monitor operator behavior and help identify poor habits and signs of distractibility or complacency.
Protecting your assets, inventory and operators from accidents, damage and injuries is a chief concern that accompanies increased demand for speed and efficiency. It is easier to mitigate these safety risks when guided by real-time telematic insight.