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Why You Should Be Concerned About Your Operator’s Forklift Credentials

While it may be common knowledge that operators need to be properly trained to operate a forklift safely, there remains a lot of confusion on not only what OSHA requires, but what best practices can keep your operation safe and your organization out of hot water.

Obviously, OSHA’s goal is to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses that occur to workers in the workplace from unsafe conditions, including powered industrial truck usage. But providing an effective training program will result in many other benefits as well. Among these are the lower cost of compensation insurance, less property damage, and less product damage.

Skipping opportunities for interim training of new or temporary employees account for many incidents and accidents in a facility. It simply does not suffice to meet minimum required OSHA three-year certifications; smart managers are using training sessions with equipment training experts as an opportunity to address concerns, improve worker buy-in for safety programs, and discuss the many benefits of a safer operation.

How often does your facility change out equipment due to maintenance or employ rentals during busy seasons? Are your operators crossed trained on the new units? What about attachments or other unique add-on equipment? If an operator will be expected to operate multiple or specialty vehicles, then training must address the unique characteristics of each type of vehicle the employee is expected to operate. When an attachment is used on the truck to move odd-shaped materials, then the operator training must include instruction on the safe conduct of those tasks so that the operator knows and understands the restrictions or limitations created by each vehicle’s use.

Another primary concern is retraining in response to operator issues. A helpful list (to meet OSHA standards) exists to indicate exactly when you need to call your training provider, including:

  1. When the operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner
  2. When the operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.
  3. When the operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely.
  4. When the operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck.
  5. When a condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safety operation of the truck.

Lastly, it is often overlooked that the use of powered hand trucks present numerous hazards to employees who operate them and bystanders working in the areas where they are used. Even hand truck operators require OSHA compliant training and recertification.

If your facility is looking at cost savings measures, don’t discount the importance of proper and timely training to minimize costs associated with insurance, equipment, and property damage. An investment in a safe operation always makes financial sense.

Contributing:

Victor Crespo is an Operator Safety Trainer with Wiese USA and has five years of material handling industry experience. Victor holds numerous certifications including Train the Trainer for a variety of lift truck, aerial work platform, and cranes. Crespo was a former professor with extensive education and public speaking experience in both English and Spanish.

Dennis Lammlein has been with Wiese USA for 43 years, and is an expert at warehouse operations. He has 27 years as a Training Instructor with certifications for sit-down counter balanced lift trucks, warehouse product trucks, rough terrain lift trucks, and aerial lifts and offers specialized Operator Safety classes for skid-steer and terminal tractors.

Using Vehicles Restraints – The Best Choice for Dock Safety

Docks can present serious safety challenges, and the busier the warehouse or distribution facility, the more those concerns compound. One safety feature that deserves immediate attention is vehicle restraints. If your operation is not currently using vehicle restraints all the time, day in and day out, consider these hazards and look into an easy fix – installing vehicle restraints:
• Premature departure – the truck leaving the dock before loading/unloading is complete
• Dock walk or trailer creep – forward movement in the trailer caused by the repeated impact when a lift truck enters and exits the trailer

Wheel chocks placed by a dock attendant are commonly used, but restraints have been recognized by OSHA since 1981 as an acceptable alternative to wheel chocks, and they are faster and more reliable. Last, but not least, is the impact to your bottom line; using vehicle restraints helps eliminate costly loading dock accidents. Your employees, and your budget, will thank you.

A Sustainability Plan is about More than Going Green

Many equipment purchasers fail to recognize the concept of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), instead looking only at the cost of acquisition in making their decision. This is a mistake. By overlooking the volatility of fuel costs and proper fleet maintenance, new equipment owners are not strategically managing resources. TCO should be a primary consideration when purchasing a new forklift.

Today’s business standards demand a proactive and practical approach to energy consumption and environmental emissions. If you don’t currently have a sustainability plan for your material handling processes, consider one. By implementing a sustainability plan, you can deliver quantifiable savings to your company within your ROI targets, tangibly reduce your carbon footprint in the communities you serve, and create a safer working environment for your employees.

Advanced electric lift trucks can play a significant role in that sustainability plan. You can improve your operation and create a more sustainable workplace.
Here’s how:
• Variable frequency charging technologies allow flexibility in battery power usage
• Use of 80V batteries offers run time up to 12 hours, potentially eliminating assets and extra batteries
• Planned off-peak charging can generate utility savings of up to 70% vs. peak periods
• Elimination of battery storage can free up significant floor space while ending the need for battery changing, a big safety improvement
• More efficient warehouse movement will reduce fuel costs by up to 90% when compared to LP fleets, and improve productivity by up to 33%
• Typical fleet costs are reduced by 35% through elimination of assets and associated labor costs when LP fleets are converted to efficient electrics

For more on electric forklift technology and Total Cost of Ownership, visit https://wieseusa.com/electric

Contributing:

Patrick Louiselle is a Senior National Account Manager with Wiese USA. Patrick holds a degree in Industrial Engineering and for more than 12 years has worked with Wiese USA Major Accounts to develop cost saving fleet management and sustainability programs. Patrick’s expertise lies in helping large facilities with multiple material handling challenges, re-engineer processes to ultimately do more with fewer resources.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-louiselle-20079626