Forklift accidentYou hear it all the time, I never thought it would happen to me.  I never thought I would be the victim of a robbery, I never thought my home would flood or catch fire.  I never thought that I would be faced with a giant fine from OSHA because we allowed operators to use forklifts deemed as non-compliant by OSHA stands.  Because we didn’t practice the forklift safety that we should, because all we invested in was a DVD that doesn’t speak directly to our needs.

But now, unfortunately, that time has arrived.  Safety begins at the top, and we are now going to discuss some of the things that safety, operations and logistics professionals can implement to change the behavior of employees as it relates to forklift safety.

Digital Compliance Lists Make a Difference

One of the simplest things that you can do at your facility is avoid finding yourself in the, I never thought it would happen to me category, is to not allow operators to use equipment they deem out of compliance. Most forklifts in operation today can be equipped with safety based apps to manage access to operating lifts.  These require that operators log in and conduct a safety inspection prior to using the lift.  If the operator deems the forklift to not be in compliance, then the checklist will not allow it to start.

Making this process a require helps keep operators accountable for safety measures and allows management to track the performance of the lift and the operators when it comes to safe operations.  And engaging operators with a digital compliance list is not only easy when it comes to tracking, its’s easy when it comes to completing.  Many of the pre-shift check lists are performed on forklift-mounted tablets that most operators are accustomed to already using and much more portable than the old clipboard and pen.

Benchmarks – Make them and Stick to Them

While there is nothing new about the importance of benchmarking progress against goals, forklift fleet and operator management technologies do bring new opportunity to this simple practice in the form of evaluation metrics that can be customized by organization and individual. This also enables consistency across shifts or even multiple facilities. Safe forklift operation isn’t something that can be practiced once and then neglected. The only way managers can effectively help operators change behavior is by demonstrating and recognizing safe performance on a daily basis.

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