5 Forklift Safety Tips to Keep Casualties to a Minimal

stop_and_sound_horn_1Warehouses are dangerous work environments.  The rate of casualty and property damage occurs higher in a warehouse than any other industry.  Therefore in these types of work environments, stress on safety is mandatory.  Lowering the chances of injury is needed to provide a safe and pleasant working environment for everyone.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created by congress in 1970 to help set and enforce safety standards and ensure a safe working environment.  Every year OSHA creates a top 10 list for most caused accidents—and every year forklifts always end up on the list— having over 3,000 violations per year.  OSHA has provided free “pocket guide” on warehouse safety that you can download for free by Going Here.

Forklift Danger

Improper use of forklifts is extremely dangerous—as they can travel at high speeds, and are used to haul and load extremely heavy material stored in high locations.  According to OSHA, an estimated 95,000 are injured and 100 workers are killed each year due to forklift casualties inside the United States alone.  Therefore, it is crucial for warehouses to find ways in reducing forklift casualties.

Here are 5 forklift safety tips to follow that will help keep forklift casualties to a minimal.

1.       Comply with OSHA standards

Since compliance with OSHA is mandatory, this should be part of every warehouse’s set of strict policies.  When it comes to safely using forklift trucks, OSHA Standard 1910.178 is what needs to be followed—which provide safety standards on powered industrial trucks. You can click here to learn more about OSHA Standard 1910.178.

2.       Emphasize Forklift Safety Often

Most warehouse employees work many days out of a week.  As time passes without incident, these employees become more casual towards their work environment. Before you know it, a forklift casualty can occur. Make sure forklift safety and its importance are emphasized frequently.  One great way to do this is by placing up forklift safety posters. Warehouses can also consider providing small articles for forklift drivers to read on safety on a regular basis.  These articles can even include a set of questions each reader is required to answer.

3.       Forklift Driver Training

Make sure you train all new forklift drivers, as well as continue to up-train current drivers on a regular basis.  You can go here to learn about certification requirements for forklift drivers.  Don’t ever assume someone with driving experience is already qualified to hop onto a forklift truck and start driving right away.  Even if you verify their work experience, you don’t know how serious safety procedures were emphasized and enforced from their prior employer.  You must make sure all employees understand the warehouse’s own set of strict safety policies and their importance.  Please go here if you are looking for forklift training videos.

4.       Develop a Safety Committee:

Another helpful way to reduce forklift casualties is by setting up a safety committee.  Safety committees provide a dual purpose.  For one, they allow workers to join and feel part of something important.  Additionally, it provides a way for employees to brainstorm and come up with ideas on how safety can be increased.  Having weekly meetings where warehouse policies are looked into can definitely help reduce forklift casualties.

5.       Provide Incentives

Instead of only giving the “wooden spoon” for breaking safety violations—try setting up an incentive program to help encourage workers to follow.  Providing something as simple as a $10 to $20 bonus to forklift drivers for having no casualties or injuries over a period of time can provide them enough positive motivation.  You can also consider having a periodic pizza party or something similar for the forklift driving crew not having casualties over a period of time.

About Kristen Pryor

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