Posted by Thelma Marshall Director, Product , Jan. 2 2019​

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On the surface it may seem like your warehouse or distribution center is operating safely and consistently meeting OSHA’s regulations. But some of the most common safety infractions can go unnoticed until it is too late.  

Why are some safety infractions so easily missed? The answer is simple. Big violations will be obvious, but it’s the small ones that go unnoticed. OSHA violations and accidents commonly occur because of one poor choice someone makes to cut corners or save time.

It’s the little, everyday decisions that often lead to injury.

In a nutshell, complacency about the dangers of the job, the work environment, and the pressure to meet deadlines can lead to split-second, unsafe decision making.

The cost of small, hidden violations

Everyone thinks an accident won’t happen to them or in their facility – until it does. But those, hidden violations can lead to an accident, which will deeply impact your bottom line – now more than ever before.

Last year, OSHA put an annual adjustment to penalties of violation that raised fine amounts by approximately 2.5 percent. So, the maximum fine for a serious violation is now $13,260, and willful and repeated violations will cost you $132,598. Added to the costs of the accident – damaged equipment, worker injury and lost productivity – the financial impact is tremendous.

What can you do if operators have become lax when it comes to safety protocol? Act now to identify and address complacency and small, everyday safety infractions.

Safety at the granular level

Sustaining a safe work environment in a warehouse or manufacturing facility is a complex task. The more locations an enterprise has the harder it becomes to monitor, track and enforce safety. Small safety infractions get lost in the chaos of daily operations.

However, ensuring that safety standards are always met may be easier than you think. Start with ongoing reminders to combat complacency, and use telematic monitoring to help you see safety at the granular level.

For example:

  • Do a monthly site assessment to break down the hazards contributing to small incidents or near-miss incidents. These hazards can be difficult to identify.
  • Engage employees to become involved in the development and reinforcement of your program. Create teams that compete on their knowledge of forklifts and safety.
  • Use telematic data on the 5 whys (who, what, where, when and why) when a violation happens to prevent a repeat incident.
  • Personalized safety checklists are ideal because they will fit the unique demands and risks within your facility. Lift-truck manufacturers can provide daily checklists specific for each type of forklift.
  • Use automated safety checklists to provide documented proof that safety checks were conducted. Telematics software should also lock out vehicles from use if they fail inspection.

Remember, OSHA requires safety inspections for fleet vehicles in your facility, as well as documentation when an accident occurs or your business undergoes a safety audit.  

Managers may only see the big picture and think everyone is meeting OSHA regulations and guidelines for warehouse and manufacturing facilities. But it is very common for day-to-day safety to be compromised without continuous monitoring and the right telematics safety solution.

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