11 Ways To Reduce Forklift Accidents In Your Facility

Written by leerts on December 1, 2011 – 10:25 pm - (1735 views)

Since the invention of Youtube, Vimeo and other online video websites that store and play videos on demand, CEO’s down to the warehouse safety coordinators have all watched various videos where forklift operators have been the cause of horrific accidents.  These video’s pop up in cycles each year and cause everyone to review and evaluate their current state of affairs in their warehouse’s, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers to ensure every safety precaution is being taken.  Nobody wants to have an accident happen ever!

Accidents are just that, an accident.  The goal of every CEO or Safety Coordinator is to eliminate or reduce the number of reportable accidents per year significantly.  Here are 11 ways to help reduce the number of accidents in your facility.

Certify your forklift operators. I am amazed at the number of both large and small companies that do not certify their forklift operators.  Although it has an accelerator and a brake pedal, operating a forklift is entirely different than operating an automobile and the operator needs to know the proper way to handle that piece of equipment.

Yearly refresher course. You should have your forklift operators, no matter their tenure; participate in a yearly refresher course.  It is very easy to get complacent in your job and a refresher course helps keep the operators skills fresh.

Limit your top speed in the warehouse. Forklifts are all built to move material from point A to point B in an efficient manor.  In some facilities, a forklift traveling at 12mph is not a huge issue because there is a limited amount of personnel where they operate.  Other facilities are very congested and this type of speed would certainly cause an accident.  So evaluate what is a safe speed in your warehouse and investigate what it would take to limit the speed of your forklift fleet.

High Visibility Seatbelts. A simple color change to the seatbelt that is visible from across the warehouse is a great way to ensure forklift operator participation.  This simple yet effective tool just might help prevent a death in the warehouse.

Fleet Management/Driver Accountability System. Placing a system on the forklift that records speeds, impacts and maintenance information is a great way to help keep the operators and support staff safe.

Use The Horn. As simple as it sounds, using the horn at intersections, when backing up and periodically when moving from point A to point B is a great way to let others know you are moving and to know where you are if they have their head down performing their assigned job in the warehouse.

Back-up Alarms. As annoying as these safety items might be at times, they really work well in any warehouse application.  Now with “smart” back-up alarms that increase in volume as the forklift increases its speed, both operators and pedestrians are able to tolerate this valuable safety feature.

Different Color Strobe Lights. More and more companies are moving away from Amber or Yellow strobe lights and using other colors to help warehouse personnel notice them again.  It is easy to become complacent in your work environment and changing simple and inexpensive things is a great way to create awareness.

Superior Illumination In Warehouse. Companies all over the US are trying to save money and limiting the amount of lights that are used inside of a warehouse is a great place to save money.  Just ensure that your cost cutting strategy does not leave the warehouse poorly illuminated.  This simple thing could cause an accident and would eliminate any cost savings your company might have had with a lawsuit.

Break Near Shift End. Most accidents and product damage happen in the last few hours of an employees shift.  When fatigue begins to set in, the operator is less productive and has a higher risk of an accident happening or damaging product.  Taking one ten minute break an hour or so before the shift ends might seem like a bad idea, but an alert operator is a safe operator.

Use Forklift Lights. Finally, the lights are there for a reason.  Even though most warehouses are normally illuminated properly, using the lights on the forklift will help the operator see where he is going and help other warehouse employees know that the forklift is heading in their direction.

These simple tips are used by some and violated by others everyday.  Take the time out today and see which tips you can implement into your facility to help increase the safety of your forklift operation.


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