Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

What Forklift Drivers Don’t Know Could Hurt You

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Nov 9, 2017 3:00:00 AM

Evaluation and ongoing training is required by OSHA for all lift-truck operators for a good reason. Whether the cause is skill deficits, risk-taking or driver complacency, about 20,000 workers are injured in forklift accidents each year.  Fork lift with operator working in warehouse.jpeg

And nobody thinks it will happen to them, so lack of knowledge can cost you. Here’s how to identify skill deficits easily and to create a solution for addressing them.

Ongoing evaluation & training plans

The average work-related incident can add up to $38,000 of direct expenses and up to $150,000 in indirect costs.

Being a forklift driver takes discipline, focus, and continuous training. Whether you employ new forklift drivers or skilled professionals, evaluation and ongoing training is required by OSHA, and it’s easy to accomplish.

Here’s how to continuously communicate and train:

  1. Check your machine.

Regardless of your familiarity with a truck, an operator must make all the proper inspections prior to operating it. Two major checkpoints are gas and battery.

Not the first person to operate the forklift? Drivers should still go through the motions of completing a safety checklist before operating the machine. Things like flat tires, hydraulic leakage, or battery malfunction may have occurred during the previous driver's shift.

  1. Forklift safety is everyone’s number one priority.

Oftentimes forklift drivers test the boundaries and cut corners or become complacent with a process. This should be addressed as soon as the behavior is identified.

Drivers should be encouraged to communicate and stay alert while operating the forklift — use lights and signals as needed to alert oncoming traffic and nearby pedestrians.

Also, it is essential that the forklift backup alarm is working to warn personnel and other drivers who may be in a blind spot.

  1. Unsure about a task? Always ask for help.

Operators shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help or assistance when operating a forklift, whether unloading, loading, or conducting maintenance. No question is dumb or unnecessary.

How to identify skill deficits and create solutions

Safety requires staying one step ahead of potential risks with insight and a leaner approach to the problem. You can’t fix a problem until you identify it.

The basic steps:

  1. Use telematic Operator Report Cards to identify how your drivers are performing. It can identify:
  • Drivers that are prone to impacts
  • Unsafe driving habits such as speeding, not stopping in pedestrian walkways, or driving through stop zones
  • Drivers who tend not to complete the safety checklist
  • Driver activity and inactivity
  1. Use telematic advanced location capabilities to determine better warehouse traffic patterns, reduce pedestrian injuries, and create productive work schedules.
  2. Create a training solution that is fun, interactive and provides your forklift drivers the skill set and ongoing reminders that combat complacency and keep everyone safe.

Most forklift drivers don’t intentionally create risk. They simply lack the knowledge, skills or attentiveness to safety required. Telematic monitoring identifies those risks, allowing you to target training to improve safety and protect your operators.

Topics: Forklift safety, cloud-based telematics, compliance requirements, dangers of forklift operation, Documentation of impacts