Each year, approximately one out of every 10 forklifts in the United States is involved in an accident. However, OSHA estimates that approximately 70 percent of these accidents could be avoided through better adherence to standardized training and safety procedures. As operating environments continue to evolve at a rapid pace with new, high-performing technologies, safety requires constant focus and attention. Here are some recommendations from the experts at Hyster:
Everyone in warehouses should be trained on how to properly interact with mobile robotics. The “rules of the road” are different from the guidelines for traditional equipment with human operators, and they must be clearly defined. While robotics have sensors and systems designed to prevent impacts, pedestrians can be unpredictable, which makes clear explanation and enforcement of rules all the more important.
The lift truck power market is more robust than ever, with new technologies joining traditional options like lead-acid batteries and internal combustion engines. Rather than requiring removal and replacement to charge or refuel, operators can simply plug in lithium-ion batteries directly from the equipment – no lifting and twisting to remove tanks or batteries. Hydrogen fuel cells also do not require removal or replacement of heavy components, and can be refueled in as little as three minutes.
Although it is not a replacement for on-truck training, virtual reality simulators enable operators to practice lift truck operation in an immersive environment, gaining valuable experience without taking an actual lift truck out of service or risking damage. With realistic 3D environments and actual lift truck controls and responses, operators can reduce potential on-the-job training incidents and receive automated, real-time feedback.
Telemetry can restrict truck access to only those operators with proper certification. Every operator must swipe an individual access card with certification information encoded, otherwise he or she cannot start the equipment. The system also provides notifications when certifications will expire soon. Tracking truck information by the specific operator provides visibility to travel locations, idle time, and impact alerts. Managers receive notifications when impacts happen, including who was operating the truck – helping to identify high performers and those who may require more training. Telemetry systems can also limit truck performance based on operator experience and skill level.
Whether navigating dark trailers or dim storage areas, lift truck operators commonly encounter poorly lit environments. Choose the right lighting for the situation:
Audible alarms notify pedestrians and other lift truck operators of equipment in close or immediate proximity; some even automatically to five decibels louder than any surrounding ambient noise.
Submitted by Hyster Company, www.hyster.com