Posted by Thelma Marshall, VP of Solutions, August 25, 2020

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If forklift drivers see refresher training as just another requirement to fulfill your enterprise is missing a big opportunity for change and improvement. 

It’s important to remember that OSHA requires regular refresher training for all drivers, specific to the vehicle they operate in the workplace.If you have to do it, why not do it in a way that really makes a difference?

Operator performance must also be evaluated every three years. But, ongoing training for forklift operators has benefits beyond regulatory compliance. It provides a valuable opportunity to reduce wasted time, cut impacts and injuries, and even boost productivity.  

That’s why it is valuable to tailor refresher training to each driver’s specific skill deficits. First, identify where each driver needs to improve and then customize training to address those needs. 

Common reasons forklift refreshers improve safety

Your operators are only human. Mistakes can be made because they have become complacent about speed, completing checklists, or following through on basic safety precautions.

When drivers behave unsafely while operating a vehicle, OSHA requires that business to conduct refresher training. This is also true for when drivers fail an evaluation, or when there are changes in the workplace— like new vehicles.

Your telematic system is monitoring and reporting on all drivers, so you should be able to easily identify exactly what behaviors stand out as risky or areas they show complacency about safety. These deficits increase risk for everyone. 

Common areas where refresher training is needed

There are some very common areas of risk in every warehouse operation.

1. Unsafe carrying of loads 

This includes carrying a heavy load with the forks too high, not using extra caution when carrying loads of hazardous material, and moving too quickly when stacking and unstacking on racks. 

2. Driver complacency about workplace hazards  

Forklift attachments, for example, can change operating clearance and forklift capacity by adding additional weight. Refresher training can curb complacency and remind about dangers. 

3. Disregard of speed and risk to pedestrians 

Drivers are often dealing with obstructed views, forget to control their speed, or break rules by carrying passengers on the forklift.  

4. Not completing safety checklists 

Designed to ensure both the vehicle and the driver are fully prepared for the task at hand, safety checks should not be skipped. That leads to accidents, costly break-down of equipment and injuries. 

How to easily customize driver training 

Monitoring vehicles and operators with telematics lets you cultivate training based on factual needs. For example, TotalTrax CommandPulseDX delivers an easy-to-use KPI manager that quickly determines areas where training is required. This can be seen by operator, vehicle, site, shift, or group. 

Features include: 

  • Advanced Location – Geo fencing and stop-zones alerts will indicate operators who are not adhering to speed limits or stop/slow down zones.  
  • Operator Report Cards – Utilize KPIs to determine overall operator performance. 
  • Operator Certifications – Monitor which drivers are certified to operate which forklifts and attachments. 
  • Safety Reports – Show impact frequency, trends, and summaries. 
  • Impact – Unit-specific alerts and reports provide data on vehicle, operator, impact severity, and location of impact. 
  • Safety Checklist – Monitors the condition of each vehicle before operation and disables vehicles from use if they fail the checklist 

Using advanced telematic software to monitor and determine training needs allows you to customize training to address each operator’s specific deficit, improving safety and productivity with unprecedented ease. 

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