Posted by Thelma Marshall, Product Director, on February 6, 2020

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Equipment is designed for safety, but forklift operators still fall victim to the bad habits that cause warehouse injuries.

Human error and poor driving habits are common challenges in warehousing. Unfortunately, the repetitive nature of the job lends itself to complacency and risk taking. Even experience forklift operators can be guilty of ignoring basic safety measures. It happens often when tasks become routine.

This results in 80,000 – 90,000 injuries occurring due to unsafe forklift operation, and about 100 fatalities each year. The most common bad habits form easily, slip under the radar of managers, and deeply impact the life of employees and your operation.

Hidden (and not so hidden) bad habits to look for

We all get complacent at times. But the best defense against bad habits and their potential impact is addressing them as soon as they are identified.

Look for this:

1. Operators that skip safety checklists

Safety checks are in place for a good reason — they prevent equipment from use when it needs repair or maintenance. 

Address it: Use telematic customized safety checklists, which must be completed in order for the vehicle to operate. Some systems offer a list of safety messages and questions based on OSHA standards. If any critical questions fail, the vehicle can be disabled until it has been checked or maintenance is completed.  

2. Operators who are overly fatigued

Fatigue is very common on the job and is a serious hazard for forklift operators. Signs include:

  • Difficulty concentrating and remaining alert
  • Low energy or lethargy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Impaired decision making

Address it: Discuss rest habits with your operators. Remind them of the importance of seven to eight hours of sleep each night, weekly exercise ( to boost energy levels) and staying hydrated (coffee and energy drinks don’t count).

3. Operators who avoid training and re-certification

Drivers, especially experienced ones, often feel additional training is a waste of time. But, even the most qualified drivers need refreshers that remind them of safety protocols. 

Address it: Operator report cards and forklift monitoring data can reminder you of when operator certifications expire and tell you if the operator is taking risks. If a certification expires, the software system prevents the driver from starting any associated vehicles until recertified. 
 
4. Operators who forgo the use of seatbelts, drive recklessly or forget speed limits

Most forklifts weigh several thousand pounds and are prone to tipping over, causing serious, even fatal, injuries. Seatbelts and safe operational procedures are always required. 

Address it: Telematics software analyzes the physical conditions of the warehouse, monitors driver behavior, and delivers real-time information about the speed of vehicles in motion and traffic flow in the warehouse. 

The bad habit solution

Using telematics software data can help you curb the bad habits of forklift operators and reduce forklift accidents by tackling underlying causes. Addressing these common habits reduces accidents, workplace injuries, and reduces associated costs – including the impact on human life.

 

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