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5 Things You Should Do To Avoid Forklift Related Accidents

5 Things You Should Do To Avoid Forklift Related Accidents

Forklift accidents are no joke – they’re a concern for others, supervisors, owners, and the people operating them. If you’ve spent your time around the bull and deal with forklifts on a day to day, maybe you’ve come across an accident or two during a couple stints.

Other than common sense, having a smart policy in place means enforcing the safe-obvious rules you’ve set up. Punishment for workers who violate your rules should be severe.

Severe enough to send a message: if workers pose a risk to injury, either to themselves or others by being unsafe and working unprofessionally… then they could, let’s say, get the boot. For a day or two. Maybe their lunch won’t be paid for the week.

There’s a whole host of punishments out there for people who have a blatant disregard for the rules.

There are different ways (most of them involve common sense professionalism and respect) to avoid forklift-related injuries. Let’s look to some action steps you can put in place today.

1. Supervision and Monitoring

It’s the duty of employers to provide a safe workplace within the rights of workers – nobody elses. Monitoring and keeping track of the lowdown is a key part in maintaining that type of workplace safety.

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As such, employers can go through a weekly checklist to ensure their line of forklifts is suitable for use – inspecting areas such as…

  • Fluids and controls
  • Mast
  • Warning devices
  • Seating
  • Tires
  • Seatbelt, forks, Etc.

It’s also wise to set in place, a special procedure for employees to follow should incase an unsafe forklift meet their path.

2. BEING CRUSHED

Do me a favour and go find a dump truck. Then go find a medium-sized forklift. Look real close at the two – what do you think their weight differences are? Monumentally huge, right?

Wrong.

They’re about the same weight. Ipso facto, they should both be treated with the proper respect. The size of a medium-sized forklift is deceiving – there’ve been many instances of forklift operators who, misjudging the lift, jumped to the ground (OR tipped over!) and miscalculated the fall. Did you hear about a man in Brooklyn who was crushed to death? OSHA estimates that over 85 fatalities (in the workplace) are forklift related.

Preventing these tragedies is as simple as companies providing sufficient training for use with any machine. It is the duty and responsibility of supervisors to ensure proper maintenance of equipments and that they are being used in right way to avoid accidents.

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3. Safe Warehouse Environment

The physical environment around you (most likely the warehouse), such as the lighting, ventilation, housekeeping, road surfaces, etc. plays a big part in forklift safety.

Let’s be obvious here: the stronger (or more) lights there are, the safer forklift drivers will see any obstructions in their path.

However, one bulb doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to proper lighting design. Lighting is serious work.

“Housekeeping” refers to keeping the warehouse organized and tidy – like a $50/hr. maid spends time cleaning up a wealthy client’s home; no junk lying everywhere, no wrappers littering the ground, etc.

Overhead walkways also help employees remain safe. However, safety/visibility mirrors installed in a lot of places around the warehouse (and on the front and back of forklifts)? Tell me forklift drivers can’t use mirrors to help them see where they’re going. Convex safety mirrors do just that.

What else makes the environment safer? Signs, safety barriers, boom gates, etc. That doesn’t mean forklift injuries will be wiped clean – but the amount of them will diminish over the coming months with each respectful upgrade.

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4. Maintain Forklifts

Having a well-maintained forklift is essential for preventing accidents. That isn’t surprising, is it? In case it’s time to repair forklifts, purchase those that come with their own safety reading material.

According to CertifyMe.net, forklift injuries happen twenty thousand times a year. Most forklift accidents happen when the forklift has poor maintenance, improper backing up techniques and workers don’t consider the forklift’s age.

Let me ask you, what maintenance program do you have set up? Does it include a weekly schedule of services? How often do you perform forklift (and other machinery) inspections? What about cleanings? Ensure the mechanism that’s always on is the one that stops forklifts from starting unless the seatbelt is fastened around the driver.

Have you equipped your forklifts with anti-slip surfaces and grab-rails? These make the difference when someone falls and is bedridden for a few months.

5. Lack Of Safety Education

The warehouse will fail to meet its full potential, and majorly suffer when it comes to production. It will also create serious risks to every eyeball in there. When warehouse workers aren’t trained, everyone suffers. Everyone.

The OSH reports that a lack of training, or being trained improperly, contributes to forklift injuries.

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We can see a trend: what’s the foremost cause of injury in the workplace? Inexperienced workers. The problem with inexperienced workers? They can cause company profit to plummet; how couldn’t they be a liability? They weren’t trained in the first place! If they were, maybe an accident wouldn’t have happened, and their (or should we say your?) mistake wouldn’t cost the company in damages.

The same goes for veterans who’ve been around the block; new equipment comes in, let’s say, your golden oldies have no clue what does what or how to work it. A “refresher” course is the divider between a major, expensive accident (TRAGIC accident that could be fatal, actually)… and experienced workers utilising their skills professionally.

The biggest thing is to advocate safety (such as The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does) at all times through the year. Discuss safety monthly or weekly – and please address safety issues as they pop up.

LAST THOUGHTS

OSHA summed it up best when they said that operating a forklift without proper training is dangerous. There have been many reports about forklift accidents; some list 85 fatalities each year. With over 850,000 forklifts in the U.S. alone, 85 fatalities isn’t peanuts. Let’s try to keep that number smaller – don’t add to it by being irresponsible. Stay safe out there.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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