Workers notice when large pieces of heavy machinery are on a worksite to complete part of a project. These machines require special attention, knowledge of loading and unloading requirements, careful operation procedures, and plenty of space. They make their presence known as soon as they show up, and workers snap to attention and stay alert while working around them. So where’s this attention from workers when it comes to the other machinery around a site or warehouse that also requires dedicated attention for proper safety? Employers may not feel this question applies to their worksite. So here are some of our top tips to help improve your warehouse safety!
Ensure Operators Have Certifications
It may seem self-evident, but it’s worth repeating. Only certified operators and trainees under the direct supervision of certified operators should operate forklifts. When crews become backed up and fall behind schedule, it’s tempting to let the first able body leap into the driver’s seat and move some goods or equipment. Allowing this practice, however, undermines an organization’s safety culture, puts workers at risk, and puts the company at risk of hefty OSHA fines. Allowing only fully trained and qualified employees to use forklifts is always better for all parties.
Encourage Communication and Alertness
Accidents occur due to distractions. While forklifts are in use, operators and affected workers must remain vigilant and free of distractions. Supervisors should urge operators to communicate with one another and their supervisors about how they feel and whether or not they can stay focused while driving. This involves supervisors monitoring operators’ breaks to ensure they remain alert rather than becoming exhausted in the driver’s seat. Operators must also inform individuals on the premises that a forklift is in use. This could involve audio and visual alerting systems, verbal cautions, hand signals, or a mix of these things.
Only Operators in the Driver’s Seat
Part of reducing distractions means limiting what operators bring with them onto the forklift. Operators should not take snacks, drinks, devices, or any other items that could distract them at a crucial moment. You should even limit documents, scanners, and other seemingly important work items to only those things that are absolutely necessary for the task at hand. Other workers can trail or meet forklift operators at the site to properly catalogue items and check loads before the operator lifts them. This allows the operator to maintain concentration and establishes checks and balances to ensure safety without placing the entire responsibility on the operator.
We hope you have enjoyed our top tips to help improve your warehouse safety! While it can be hard to implement robust warehouse safety practices, we guarantee those efforts will be extremely beneficial to your employees and company!