The last few years have presented challenges for the distribution industry, including an increased demand for shipped goods. With increased workloads, it can be easy for employees to overlook the basics of safety in the push for increased productivity. As material handling operations continue to be busy, it’s critical to reenforce a safety-first workplace culture.
Just as it is necessary to focus on safety year-round, it is also important to consider what energy source you’re using to power your forklifts. A clean and efficient energy source like propane keeps your operation running efficiently and keeps safety top of mind for your crew.
Keep safety precautions top of mind
Establishing ongoing safety briefings keeps employees informed, shares valuable safety reminders, and addresses any questions. Propane is a safe energy source for forklifts, but there are still things for crews to remember when using it to power equipment:
Look to the propane industry for safety support
Businesses operating propane-powered equipment have an equally safety-focused partner: the support of their local propane supplier. Propane suppliers can teach crews how to refill cylinders, inspect cylinders, and remove damaged cylinders from service.
Prioritize indoor air quality
Safe operation goes beyond using equipment correctly. You should also consider the effects of your energy source on your employees’ health and well-being.
Propane-powered forklifts can operate safely indoors and out; according to data from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), most forklift fleets operate in both environments. Well-maintained propane forklifts meet or exceed nationwide indoor air-quality standards, whereas gasoline and diesel can produce higher amounts of carbon monoxide and other harmful emissions. PERC has released a comparative analysis called Fork(lifts) in the (Off) Road: Should We Ban Internal Combustion Engines for Electric?, which compares the lifecycle emissions profiles of propane and electric-powered forklifts, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. For most states, NOx emissions from propane-powered forklift engines can be less than half that of battery-electric forklifts powered by the electric grid. Propane forklifts produce up to 76 percent less sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions than electric-powered forklifts.
While Forklift Safety Day provides an opportunity to focus on workplace safety each year, safety should be top of mind year-round. The propane industry is here to support you by providing a clean, efficient, and safe energy source for your operation.
Joe Calhoun is director of off-road business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Propane Education & Research Council