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Operating a forklift safely is priority one as far as a warehouse business is concerned. Proper training and follow up as well as re-training when necessary assures that forklift drivers understand all that goes into a safely operating a forklift.
Another tool that can help safe driving habits is to hold a forklift rodeo competition. Such competitions are being done in particular regions of the country and have also been sanctioned by national organizations. Forklift rodeos are also held in foreign countries including the United Kingdom and others. It is an event that a warehouse business can hold to encourage good safety driving habits and to throw kudos toward the safest drivers in your fleet.
How To Run A Forklift Rodeo Competition
A warehouse staff or fleet management can initiate a forklift rodeo on its own or can hire a business firm like Raymond Handling Concepts to hold the event. In one case, United Natural Foods, a distributor of Organic and Natural foods and products located in Washington State held a rodeo and Raymond Handling Concepts sent representatives to serve as part of the judging team.
Developing a forklift rodeo competition involves a number of elements including:
• The creation of rules.
• Identifying judges
• Who participates in a forklift rodeo competition
• Where to locate the competition
• Kinds of forklifts to use in the competition
• Defining how competitors win a forklift rodeo competition.
Fleet management personnel, forklift drivers, and retired forklift drivers can work together in developing rules and events for the rodeo. OSHA rules pertaining to forklift operation can also be used in the creation of the rules and events.
Forklift drivers and fleet management personnel can identify judges for the event. Stakeholders can then decide who will judge the event from a list of perspective judges.
Those who qualify as participants in the event can be employees who drive forklifts on a regular basis. They must have gone through a training and safety program.
Warehouse companies have been known to invite competitors from other warehouse businesses to participate. You can charge an entry fee that ranges from $25 to $35 for each participant. Inviting sponsors to fund the event is another way for you to raise funds that would cover expenses. Sponsors have been known to donate as much as $100 to $200 to an event.
It is advised that you post posters in the lunchroom and in other parts of your facility to notify potential contestants to get involved in the event. You seek outside competitors to sign up using advertising broadcast on local radio stations or through the local Chamber of Commerce mailing lists.
Choose a location that offers plenty of space. It is suggested that the floor space needed for a rodeo is about 100-feet by 200-feet. Additional space will be needed for check-in and registration. It is probably a good idea to provide space where competitors can “warm-up” on a forklift. You will also need space to accommodate spectators.
Forklift competitions are commonly held indoors. However, it can also be held outdoors, perhaps on a parking lot.
You can donate forklifts that are a part of your fleet for use in the competition. You can also ask for your forklift supplier to donate lifts that can be used. In addition, an organization that helps put on such events can donate the forklifts to be used.
It is recommended that one forklift be used for each course, another forklift be used for warm-up purposes, and still another forklift be used for a forklift quiz section.
Examples of events for the forklift rodeo include:
• Contestants perform a daily checklist inspection and discover all the planted issues.
• Contestants negotiate a course using a functioning forklift.
• Contestants gently pick up a basketball from an orange safety cone, lift and drop it through a hoop and then return to a start/finish line. If the ball falls off the forks, the driver is disqualified. The operator with the fastest time wins the event.
You can use your imagination to come up with other events for the forklift rodeo.
A competitor can compete individually or as part of a team. A driver’s score depends on driving time that is adjusted for penalties and bonus points. If a driver is charged with a penalty, time is added to his score. Each driver can make up time by receiving bonus points that are awarded during the quiz section of the competition. The bonus points are used to subtract time from the driver’s overall score.
The forklift driver with the lowest score wins the rodeo.
Use the rodeo to create a rivalry between warehouses that are a part of your company or with another company’s warehouse.
It would be more fun to expand the competition to include multiple companies with the winner of a bracket continuing on through other brackets of a tournament that ultimately crowns a winner.