The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently released some figures that paint a very bleak picture for the forklift truck industry and forklift safety in general. Perhaps the most adverse statistic is the 6th place positioning on OSHA's top 10 list of safety offenders. This is due to the rise in number of safety violations throughout 2014 when compared with the previous year.
Despite a supposed increase in awareness, there were 3,340 reported forklift safety violations in total last year. This was trumped in frequency by other violations such as fall protection, scaffolding and hazard communication. Nevertheless, 6th place in a top 10 list of safety breaches is simply not good enough.
Time to Incorporate Technology
If your current safety efforts and precautions are not sufficient enough there is no need to panic or give up. In order to keep employees and equipment safe it is normal and important to revisit safety measures and/or introduce fresh ones on a regular basis. This may mean incorporating elements previously unthought-of, such as real-time monitoring technology.
The inclusion of such technology can really help improve safety records and protect staff members effectively. Take a look at the following four examples of how this can affect your business in the future.
Ensuring OSHA Compliance
OSHA frequently release an extensive list of vital safety checks for all businesses to address. Unfortunately though, tackling this list manually leaves the whole operation open to human error. If information is entered incorrectly or some checks are missed then it may be difficult to rectify them before an OSHA audit. Safety violations may also be missed, meaning you are increasing the risk of an accident occurring.
By adopting a wireless monitoring system you can ensure OSHA compliance by performing pre-shift safety checks for all authorised staff members. This technology can also perform automatic alerts to warn of training/maintenance requirements.
Shed Some Light
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has stated that real time technology is vital to improving safety and efficiency within the workplace. Without this technology warehouse and distribution centre managers are forced to rely on personal reports from their staff members on any impact or safety infringements. To put it simply, this is like operating in the dark.
Real time monitoring systems will help provide complete transparency and clear statistical data on accidents, impacts and safety violations. Data can include time, locations, machinery type and the name of the operator. Shed some light on your health and safety efforts with real time technology.
Warehouse managers are unable to keep a close eye on their equipment or staff members at all times. Health and safety officers are the same and will have very little impact on the safety of your workplace if they cannot govern who is able to operate certain machines and vehicles. There is no way of avoiding the chance of an unauthorised driver making a spur-of-the-moment decision and driving a forklift truck without permission; unless incorporate technology.
Barcodes, proximity cards, iButtons and electronic signature keys are all examples of technology that will help eradicate the possibility of an unauthorised driver. The identity of each driver will be known to the management team since they need to use their ID card or signature key to gain access to each respective vehicle. Some of these technological developments even control the engine on a forklift truck so that it will not start without the appropriate pass.
Individual Driving Habits
Training and skill development is vital to business success and safety regulations. Nevertheless, even the most experience of drivers will make a mistake every now and then; especially when left to their own devices. Without having the means to monitor each of your vehicles all of the time, minor bumps and impacts will go unnoticed and unreported.
Installing an impact monitoring system is the answer to this problem. This technology will send a notification, either by text or email, to your administrator in real time if there is an impact above your prearranged G force threshold. This allows supervising staff members to speak to the offender immediately rather than relying on memorised information weeks down the line. Having this strict accountability and instant feedback will ensure your drivers are more careful in future.
Impact and Equipment Damage
All of these technological advancements can help make a significant reduction in the amount of impacts and damages to the equipment in your workplace. As time keeps crawling forward and the technological world continues to develop, real time monitoring becomes even more impossible to ignore. The next 5-10 years should see a lot of industry developments in this regard as the warehouse as a whole becomes a safer environment to work in.
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