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How Safe is Safe? Time to Pick Up Where Operator Training Leaves Off.

How Safe is Safe? Time to Pick Up Where Operator Training Leaves Off.

Most businesses would state that safe operating environments are their number one priority, some above profit and or customer satisfaction. However, how many are truly proactive in managing a safety policy that is preventative as opposed to hopeful?

Whether it is one lift truck or a fleet of one hundred lift trucks consider the numerous unsafe outcomes that can impact drivers and or pedestrians? With workers compensation and insurance premiums reaching never before seen highs and fines being levied against both companies and managers direct, is operator safety training alone enough protection for your workers? Let's consider some of the safety challenges lift truck operators face daily and cost effective solutions that compliment and safeguard training alone.
One trend that we are noticing is that many companies are becoming concerned with overloading the lift truck as a result of unknown or incorrect stated weights at source of shipping. In the manufacturing process this is even less understood as in most cases the weight is an estimate that may even change during the manufacturing process over time. How many lift truck operators in the middle of a shift can eyeball a load about to be picked up and know outright that the truck is under capacity?

A 2014 OSHA study reported that 25.3% of fatalities and injuries occurring on lift trucks are related to tipping as a result of overloading. Operator training simply put, cannot train to guess correctly, so how can a company act on this safety concern?

Thankfully IVDT manufactures the ED2-SLL, which notifies the operator how close the load to be lifted is against the rated capacity of the lift truck. No buttons to push, no guessing, every load is predetermined and in the event of an overload, and audible or visual alarm is sounded to alert the operator.

Even the best plant operations can expect some damage as a result of incorrect fork alignment. It is common practice in some businesses to write off a percentage of product damage to human error. However, when human error damages racking and or the facility itself rendering the environment unsafe for anyone in the immediate location, it is no longer a cost of doing business. The same 2014 OSHA study indicates that the number three reason for fatality and injury on lift trucks at 14.4% is falling loads due to incorrect placement. This safety concern has prompted one leading manufacturer of lift trucks to include a fork leveling system on their equipment. But what about the other hundreds of thousands of lift trucks sold or already in operation?
Literally for a few hundred dollars anyone wishing to improve the operation of their lift trucks can purchase a SkidLevel, load level indicator. This device has no mechanical installation, fits on the mast by way of an industrial magnet, and calibrates with the push of a button. Even load placements at the highest rack bay can be done safety and quickly.

Without a doubt the biggest safety and damage control issue in material handling is the ability to control access to the equipment and further determine unsafe usage trends while that vehicle is in operation. Operation managers cannot be watchdogs and when unsafe usage occurs it seldom goes reported leaving the company and the manager vulnerable to repeat occurrences. Every year over 100 people are killed on a forklift with another 20,000 being seriously injured.

Never mind the millions of dollars spent on infrastructure repair and the insurance adjustments that must take place as a result.
Access control and Impact Management is a real concern for all companies, and so far operator training has only scratched the surface with little sustainable results. IVDT manufactures the Defender series of Impact Management Systems that can provide any business with a lock safe system to control usage, damage and provide that data to the stakeholders to understand trends even in ‘Real Time’ as it happens. The system utilizes two set thresholds for impact detection a low and a high, low to notify the operator that unsafe usage may be occurring and high to warn responsible managers that a potentially unsafe impact may have occurred. In addition, the Defender is the only system on the market with 32 g-force settings on the accelerometer, making it possible to achieve the correct sensitivity rating for any business. Easy to install, self-sustainable for any company to manage themselves, the system can even provide utilization statistics and prompt the operator for safety checks as well.
Safety doesn’t happen by accident and while operator training will always provide the theory and best practice element to a companies safety campaign, human error and negligence can be controlled. The cost of implementing these products is far less than the cost of not having them and the return on investment can be seen in weeks. More importantly and without cost association is the impact they have on employees’ safety and well being.
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