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Forklift Safety Series: Closing Training Gaps with a Supplier-Supported Approach

Forklift trainer conducts training with forklift operator trainee.

Crown Equipment is committed to helping customers maintain a safe operation with equipment designed around the operator, in accordance with industry standards. A successful safety program considers key elements that can positively contribute to employee safety.

In this forklift safety blog series, with topics inspired by our new e-book “An Integrated Approach to Forklift Safety,” we explore the components of an integrated safety approach and how to ensure a strong safety culture.  


 

While forklift training is mandatory, it may not be as effective as desired because it doesn’t go far enough, both in how operators are trained and who in an organization receives training.

Training material provided by a forklift supplier, such as Crown Equipment’s Demonstrated Performance® (DP) training, is designed to do more than check a box on a safety checklist. By focusing on both comprehensive classroom and hands-on training, these programs have the potential to encourage meaningful behavior changes among operators, supervisors, trainers, technicians and pedestrians that can enhance warehouse safety and form the foundation for a strong safety culture.

The overall effectiveness of training can vary based on how it is delivered and who receives it. It is important for organizations to continually evaluate safety programs to ensure there are no gaps in training, as well as to ensure that everyone has an understanding of the role they play in your organization’s safety culture. Taking a top-down approach to training is an effective method to increase organizational buy-in and effectiveness, while helping to communicate the importance of a comprehensive and integrated approach to safety.

Supervisors play a vital role in warehouse operations and that role should extend to helping operators apply their training on the job. Supervisor training programs, such as Crown’s DP LeadSafe® Train-the-Supervisor program, can prepare supervisors to spot at-risk behaviors and environmental hazards, provide positive and constructive feedback, as well as understand the basics of OSHA’s regulations governing powered industrial trucks.

In summary, here are five tips for engaging operators in safety training:

1. Celebrate Safety

Regularly celebrate operators who exhibit correct operating practices on a daily basis. Showcase them through ongoing recognition that helps reinforce expectations and communicates that safety is a high priority.

2. Set Data-Based Goals

The data and key metrics (like travel time, lift time, idle time and impacts) from forklift operator and fleet management systems can be used to set personalized goals and benchmarks for operators.

3. Encourage Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Foster a spirit of teamwork and create an environment where operators can offer positive encouragement and reinforcement to coworkers.

4. Modernize Training and Coaching

Newer learning systems take advantage of technology to make training more accessible, interactive and engaging. In addition, forklift displays now can use real-time data to provide immediate feedback and coach operators to encourage safe operating practices.

5. Make Time

Take the time to reinforce safety messaging regularly and integrate it into your operations. This should range from safety-related posters in the break room to individual coaching based on observation and information from a forklift operator and fleet management system. It’s important to keep in mind that training is a process, not a single event.

Developing a comprehensive and continuous approach to safety is essential to building a strong safety culture but can be time and resource-intensive if undertaken without support. By working with a supplier that is also committed to the success of your program, you will have access to the resources and commitment to deliver effective training that keeps safety top-of-mind for managers, supervisors, operators, service technicians and pedestrians.

Regardless of an employee’s role in an organization, each person has a responsibility to their family, coworkers, and employer to consider safety in their daily decision-making process and do their part to ensure a safe working environment. Training should be individualized with a unifying message that stresses the important role each person plays in maintaining a safe work environment.

You can read more about this approach to safety training and questions to ask during the development of a supplier-led program in our new e-book, “An Integrated Approach to Forklift Safety.” In the final blog post of our safety series, we will focus on streamlining compliance, identifying and changing incorrect behaviors, and fostering greater safety engagement among the workforce.

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