While National Forklift Safety Day is June 8, forklift safety is more than just one day, and it is also more than just the forklift. A holistic and consistent focus is key, especially given the important role forklift safety plays in the supply chain.
To build and maintain a strong safety culture, managers need to consider every important aspect that can contribute to employee safety while stressing the role of the individual. Here are five essential safety components to keep in mind:
1. Training that is accessible, personalized, and extends across the workforce. Whether classroom-based or streamed online, training for operators, supervisors, and pedestrians should be interactive, engaging, and tailored to the individual.
2. Compliance management that controls access and automates processes for streamlining safety adherence. Through data collection and analysis, managers can control access to equipment, automate processes that streamline compliance, and receive a more complete view of adherence to safety regulations.
3. Equipment design that prioritizes safer operation. Product design is sometimes overlooked as a component of safety management, but it can play a vital role. Auditing your existing equipment to identify missing key safety features is an essential step toward creating a strong safety program.
4. Connectivity that provides more visibility, awareness, and opportunities. Connected devices and equipment that enable the collection and analysis of data across the workplace offer a new tool for identifying opportunities for supervision, reinforcing training, and effecting behavioral changes.
5. Data analytics that inform safety goals. Real-time and historical data from forklift fleet and operator management systems are invaluable in identifying and responding to safety-related incidents, as well as identifying correct and incorrect behaviors.
Taking a holistic approach to safety in the warehouse also means integrating elements that may not traditionally be viewed as forklift safety. For example, it is important to have clearly marked pedestrian walkways, and signage that is visible to both pedestrians and operators that identifies different areas of the warehouse as well as potential hazards, such as low overhangs.
Another consideration should be the design and condition of the warehouse racks. Make sure aisle space is wide enough for operators of all skill sets to easily get loads in and out of racks. Regularly conduct rack assessment inspections to identify damaged uprights, beams, or wire decks.
Other warehouse design factors that can influence safety include lighting and signage. Ensure adequate lighting is used to illuminate aisles as well as designated walkways/pathways for employees. Signage should be clearly displayed at a height and distance appropriate for the viewer to ensure that it is visible and easily interpreted.
Organizations that build a foundation of forklift safety and understand its interconnection among the many components of a comprehensive warehouse safety strategy are better prepared for the ongoing journey of a safety-first culture.
For more information, visit the Safety page at crown.com and download the Crown e-book, “An Integrated Approach to Forklift Safety.”
Contributed by Crown Equipment Corporation