An accident in a warehouse. Woman running towards her colleague lying on the floor next to a forklift.

With the holiday season approaching, there will be more online purchases going out than ever before. This will have a huge impact on workers at fulfillment centers and retail locations trying to get those orders out the door. Make sure your equipment is in safe running order and your operators know the rules of the aisle.

Per Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, ecommerce sales are predicted to grow by 25% to 35% YoY this holiday season, compared to last year’s 14.7% increase.

Safety is critical in the materials handling industry. Approximately one out of every 10 forklifts is involved in an accident in the United States each year. OSHA also estimates that approximately 70 percent of these accidents could be avoided through better adherence to standardized training and safety procedures. Which, in turn, can help decrease occupational injuries and associated costs.

Forklifts are essential in many warehouse and fulfillment center operations. They can also cause serious injury when not operated with safe practices in mind. Here are just a few safety guidelines from OSHA as a guide.

  • Always wear seatbelts when operating a forklift.
  • Never exceed the rated load, and ensure loads are balanced.
  • Make sure you have enough clearance when raising and loading materials.
  • Watch for pedestrians and observe speed limits.
  • Keep a safe distance from platform and ramp edges.

 

Vehicle inspection by the operator is also a key element in ensuring the forklift is in the appropriate running condition. Preventative maintenance on your equipment is also a very important element in providing a safe running piece of machinery for your operators. Whether you choose to conduct your own maintenance or have a specialist do it for you, it is an important element in keeping your equipment running properly and your operators safe. Here is a Sample Daily Checklist for your industrial truck to make sure it runs smoothly.

Another key element in operating a lift truck safely is making sure your operators can see and be seen and heard by other workers in the area. The addition of lights, strobes, and audible alarms can help both the operator and any pedestrians nearby.

Whether navigating dark trailer or dim storage areas, lift truck operators commonly encounter poorly lit environments. To help increase visibility so operators can perform at their peak, operations can take advantage of truck-mounted lighting solutions.

  • Dome/compartment lights brighten operator compartments so controls and paperwork are more visible.
  • Rear work lights provide additional lighting for travel in dark areas, such as truck unloading, and automatically activate during reverse travel.
  • Work lights illuminate poorly lit areas and can be installed on masts or trucks.

In addition, the following types of lights can help aid pedestrian awareness in certain environments.

  • Blue LED spotlights are cast in front or behind the directional paths of lift trucks, providing an additional alert to pedestrians of approaching trucks.
  • Red zone lights are projected onto the ground level, forming a curtain around the sides of the truck to remind pedestrians to avoid the lift truck’s operating area.
  • Strobe lights flash bright amber on top of trucks to notify pedestrians and other mobile equipment of lift truck presence.

Audible alarms notify pedestrians and other lift truck operators of equipment in close or immediate proximity. They even automatically self-adjust to five decibels louder than any surrounding ambient noise, eliminating the need for constant manual adjustments.

Keep safety top of mind in your facility with these printable forklift operation and pedestrian safety posters provided by Hyster. A visual reminder just may help prevent a mishap in your facility that could lead to a not so wonderful year end.

Gregory Poole has the equipment and service specialist to help ensure your facility is operating safely and your equipment is up to date on maintenance and service. We can also evaluate your lift trucks for the addition of any safety warning devices to keep your equipment operators and facility workers safe. Let us help you achieve your safety goals this season.

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