They may feel like a nuisance, but safety checklists are valuable requirements that protect forklift operators, equipment, and foot traffic in the warehouse.
Though OSHA requires safety inspections, they don’t actually require documentation — at least until the business is audited or an accident occurs. Then proof of these important safety inspections is invaluable.
Every enterprise has its own unique safety concerns. It is wise to determine which requirements are most pertinent to safe warehouse operations and the regulatory requirements of OSHA.
The value in safety checklists In 2014, OSHA inspectors issued over 2,000 safety citations, with fines up to $7,000. Warehouse injuries to operators resulting from unsafe forklift and warehouse practices total between 80,000 and 90,000 annually. This indicates ample room for improvement.
There are 3 key areas where safety checklists will help avoid such incidents:
1. A daily or pre-shift inspection of every forklift before operation
Telematic systems with operator-checklist capabilities allow operators to easily perform OSHA-required pre-shift inspections, identifying possible safety hazards. Some programs allow for managers to tailor inspection checklists to best suit the unique needs of their business. Checklists ensure:
- No condition exists that might adversely affect the safety of the truck or operator.
- Any problems are reported and the truck is taken out of service (locked out) immediately for repair.
- Required inspections are documented, which is important for 2 reasons:
- All essential features of the vehicle are inspected routinely.
- It provides evidence that the vehicles are being inspected, as required by OSHA.
2. OSHA-required proof that operators are fit, certified, and prepared for the job
- All forklift operators must be authorized and properly trained in safe operation.
- Refresher training is required if a driver displays unsafe operation, has an accident or near-miss, evaluation indicates need, a different type of equipment is introduced, or workplace conditions change.
3. OSHA-required safe warehouse operations and driver behavior
- Lift truck telematics can customize and program aspects of the forklift’s operation, which reduces risks stemming from the operators’ errors in judgment.
- Out-of-service forklifts are documented, filling gaps in operation history should an audit occur.
- Speed limits in the warehouse can be tracked and enforced through telematics systems.
Telematics advances improve safety
CommandPulseDX, a new telematic product from TotalTrax launching in 2017, delivers advanced insight and control regarding:
- Impacts – locate and determine the operator and vehicle involved
- Operator certifications – shows certifications about to expire, or already expired
- Lockout – indicates which vehicles are out of service
- Checklist – shows operator and vehicle have completed the safety checklist, and all critical and non-critical failures by operator and vehicle.
Telematic solutions provide ways to reduce time spent emphasizing and enforcing safety. The use of automated safety checklists, which must be completed for vehicles to operate, as well as documentation, can save a business time, money and injury to its workforce.