While National Forklift Safety Day is June 8, forklift safety is more than just one day, and it is also more than just the forklift. A holistic and consistent focus is key especially given the important role forklift safety plays in the supply chain. To build and maintain a strong safety culture, managers need to consider every key aspect that can contribute to employee safety while stressing the role of the individual.
A comprehensive approach to safety in the warehouse also means integrating elements that may not traditionally be viewed as forklift safety or pertain directly to forklift operators.
Following are five essential safety components that go beyond the forklift and can further strengthen your safety culture.
1. Pedestrian Training. Forklift operators are not the only ones at risk of being involved in forklift related accidents. This is why pedestrian awareness is an important piece of a comprehensive safety program. Your non-operators should be trained and embrace their role and responsibility in forklift safety. They need to understand that being distracted or inattentive can quickly put them and others in harm’s way.
2. Designated Areas and Signage. It is important to have clearly marked pedestrian walkways that separate your pedestrian and vehicle traffic to reduce the chance of accidents. Signage that identifies these different areas of the warehouse, as well as potential hazards such as low overhangs, should be strategically placed to be visible to both pedestrians and forklift operators.
3. Warehouse Racks. Another consideration should be the design and condition of the warehouse racks. Make sure aisle space is wide enough for operators of all skill levels to easily move loads in and out of racks. Regularly conduct rack assessment inspections to identify and repair/replace damaged uprights, beams or wire decks that may no longer be able to hold specified weight. The Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI) furnishes guidelines on how to conduct these assessments and repairs.
4. Lighting. Warehouse lighting can be a safety factor. Ensure adequate lighting is used to illuminate aisles and workstations, as well as designated walkways/pathways for your employees.
5. Work Assistance. The right tools can help support a more ergonomic work environment for workers. For example, Crown Work Assist® accessories such as trays, clip pads, shrink wrap holders, cup holders and storage pockets can be added to workstations, assembly areas and lift trucks to offer ergonomic advantages by minimizing strain and movement. Work assist vehicles such as Crown’s Wave® Work Assist Vehicle®, are designed to help achieve a greater level of safety in applications where rolling ladders are typically used.
Organizations that build a foundation of forklift safety and understand its interconnection among the many components of a comprehensive warehouse safety strategy are better prepared for the ongoing journey of a safety-first culture.
For more information, visit the Safety page at crown.com and download the Crown e-book, “An Integrated Approach to Forklift Safety.”