Each year, approximately one out of every 10 forklifts is involved in an accident in the United States. 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 on-site should be trained in how to properly interact with mobile robots. The “rules of the road” are different from the guidelines for traditional equipment with human operators, and they must be clearly defined. While robots 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 lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells joining traditional options like lead-acid batteries and internal combustion engines to power a growing range of applications. 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 required. Hydrogen fuel cells also do not require employees to remove or replace heavy components and can be refueled in as little as three minutes.
Although not a replacement for on-truck training, virtual reality simulators enable employees 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 receive automated, real-time feedback with reduced risk of potential on-the-job training incidents.
Telemetry can restrict truck access to only those operators with proper certification. Operators must swipe an individual access card with certification information encoded, otherwise they cannot start the equipment. The system even provides notifications when certifications will expire soon and can limit truck performance based on an operator’s experience and skill level.
Managers can also track truck information by the specific operator, providing visibility to travel locations, idle time, and impacts. Impact alerts automatically notify managers not only of when an impact happens, but also where it happened and who was operating the truck. This capability helps identify high performers as well as those who may require more training.
Whether navigating dark trailers or dim storage areas, lift truck operators commonly encounter poorly lit environments. The right lighting can improve safety and productivity:
Contributed by Hyster Company
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