Friday, April 15, 2016

Culture of Safety

Creating a workplace that is safe, efficient, and compliant takes effort and teamwork. It is important to company success, employee retention and recruitment, and potential growth. Here are some areas to consider in y our business.

Operator Training can help you to make your work environment safer and at the same time help your operators to work more efficiently. As an employer, you want to make sure that you meet all the requirements of law so you meet compliance requirements to ANSI and do not get charged during an OSHA inspection. Training performed professionally and properly provides training to help your operators work productively and efficiently.

Here are a few summary points:
  • As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure that employees have adequate training before they use work equipment. This training should cover each different type of equipment they may be required to use.
  • Operator training can be provided by an in-house or an external trainer, but the training provider should issue an official document or certificate that details the training. You should keep this on record, but note this document is not a license.
  • As an employer, you are required to give written authority for any employee to operate the equipment.  There are devices that can restrict operation of equipment to only those that are trained and authorized to use specific equipment.
  • Monitor the performance of all operators to make sure they are working safely. This may also help you to identify areas for further training, or where refresher training may be needed.
  • Make sure to have a structured training program in place to cover all areas of truck and site safety, including: worker responsibilities, safe operator training, daily check process, PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements, site rules, service processes, and refueling / charging processes. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

It is important that operators and people working around material handling equipment are dressed appropriately and safely. The employer has the responsibility to provide adequate and safe PPE. Forklift operators may be required to wear safety boots, high visibility vest, and gloves.  Additional PPE may be required for refueling or battery charging

Speed  

Forklifts are not designed to be driven at excessive speeds, as both the forklift and its load can become unstable. Warehouse environments are filled with dangers including pedestrians, other vehicles and blind corners. While there is no mandated maximum speed, forklifts should be operated safe for the environment. A safe speed for one application may not be safe for another.

So, in summary, here are a few actions steps for your consideration:

  • Carry out a risk assessment on your operation to set a maximum speed – review this if the operation changes. Determine how you will measure speed, then how you will monitor speed. Some forklifts have speedometers, some do not so don't feel pressured to buy a new forklift fleet with speedometers. You can purchase a measurement device and use it randomly in your facility to monitor, remind, and enforce maximum speeds. Make sure your operators are aware of this speed limit – signs are a good reminder but this should also be covered in their training.

  • Make sure these limits are enforced throughout the operation. Where needed, a speed limiter can be added as an option to trucks – speak to your materials handling provider for advice.

  • Look at other systems to support warehouse safety e.g. speed bumps or warning systems.

Mobile Phones

There are no regulations that prohibit using a mobile device while operating a forklift, unless you are driving on a public road. However, using a mobile phone while operating machinery can be distracting and dangerous. Consider these action steps:

  • Have a policy in place that prohibits the use of a mobile phone whilst operating a forklift.

  • Make your operators aware of this policy and enforce it where possible.

  • Put ‘No Mobile Phone’ signs both on the forklifts and around the site as reminders to both operators and pedestrians.