While employers in the United States are required, to provide a safe workplace and training on those safety procedures, we are seeing fork lift safety training being perceived more and more as a burden to employers vs. a way to protect the safety of employees, increase moral of employees and safeguard their bottom-line.
Effective training on safety procedures, regardless of their origins, (be it chemicals, material handling equipment or lock-out-tag-out) allow workers to not just understand the hazards, but also empowers them with the information of how to avoid and protect against those hazards. Unfortunately, today, these procedures and training are often overlooked.
$39,000…that, my friends is the average cost in medical expenses and lost productivity per non-fatal workplace injury, according to the National Safety Council for 2014. Now, that number jumps nearly 40 times to 1.42 million for a fatal accident, again for 2014. What about the cost of damage done to forks and racking? What about the cost of product that can’t be sent to customers because it’s damaged from a lift backing into a pallet? The costs just go up from here and quickly become rather shocking.
Even more shocking, at least to me, is we know these numbers and the consequences but many employers still leave training as a neglected part of day to day operations and requirements and on the “it would be nice to be able to do list.” The rest of this post we are going to explore some of the reasons why training is often overlooked and what can be done to change that.
Yugh, it’s safety training time again.
Insert the groans from all levels of the organization when the topic of fork lift safety training comes up. According to Guy Snowdy, master trainer at BEB’s Material Handling Safety Division, “the most common complaints I hear each day about safety training are we don’t have the time, it’s just too expensive, and our employees aren’t interested in it.” “And frankly,” Guy adds, “they are simply excuses that can lead to consequences outside of just an injury or OSHA violation, but also significant damage to your facilities, equipment and products.”
This is exactly why BEB’s Material Handling Safety Division, under the guidance of Snowdy has developed an on-site, OSHA approved, operator training that addresses the concerns listed above as well as combating boredom. “Our approach to safety training is a blended approach,” mentioned Snowdy. “We create a fun environment for learning in both the classroom and with practical applications.” This particular training also goes a step further to train operators on the actual equipment in the actual environment that they work in every day. This method reduces the time away from the job and promotes an understanding of the operator’s daily surroundings. The equipment that is typically focused on in these types of trainings are:
- Forklift Safety Training including Telehandlers and Rough Terrain Vehicles
- Aerial Lift Training including Scissor Lifts and Telescoping Boom Lifts
- Railcar Mover Training for Trackmobile, Shuttlewagon and Rail King
- Crane and Rigging including Operator and Supervisor Training
- Rigging Equipment Training
- Crane Equipment including Mobile, Overhead and Hoist Training
Developing Common Grounds
Another complaint that is typically seen comes out of boredom and a feeling that the training really isn’t important or needed. “To combat this, I typically try and make a connection with operators when we start the training and engage them through-out the day,” Guy added.
It’s really just commonsense, whether 12-years old and in elementary school or 32-years old and a fork lift operator, people respond better to training material when they understand the reasoning behind it. Think back when your mom told you to put your toys away, and you asked why? My mom would have said, “because I’m the mom and I said so,” but many parents respond with “so no one trips and falls.” Even to a small child, knowing why they should put their toys away and the consequences that can come by not following those procedures, makes all the difference in the response you get.
And frankly, as adults, we really do not stray from the example just mentioned. Putting content into context helps employees better comprehend the information they need, it encourages them to pay closer attention, listen and gives them the confidence they need to be success in the course.
Effective training courses go beyond just sitting in a classroom and preaching a lesson they might not be perceived as important but instead illustrates to operators how they can apply what they’ve learned during the training to day-to-day work and why. Developing training that is unique to a specific area of the business or job, be it fork lifts or cranes and rigging equipment, creates an understanding and in-turn the knowledge needed to stay safe in the workplace.
To learn more about safety training or to schedule your next class, click here. Mention this blog post when you feel out the contact us form and save 10% on your next group fork lift safety training.