Forklifts have been a mainstay in material handling for decades. When properly driven, these versatile vehicles can efficiently move loads across the warehouse or factory floor, load trucks and deliver goods. But when the driver is careless, it can result in catastrophe.
With millions of forklifts in operation daily around the world, forklift accidents are inevitable. In the US, damage to property costs an estimated US$52 million annually. Forklift accidents not only damage property, they can also lead to serious injury and death. There are several hundred deaths attributed to forklift accidents globally each year.
Accidents occur when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks, fall between docks and workers are struck by moving lift trucks. Most accidents involve property damage including damage to sprinkler heads, racking, pipes, walls and machinery. Most worker injuries as well as property damage can be attributed to the lack of safe operating procedures and lack of safety-rule enforcement.
Training can improve safety and performance by 70%. Training operators will not only save on damage and injuries, but will save companies on insurance costs, lower equipment repair costs and reduce downtime. You may also need to provide training to conform to government regulations.
There are now innovative technologies available to reduce forklift accidents. Toyota has a patented dynamic system comprising 10 sensors, 3 actuators and a controller. This system constantly monitors forklift operations and automatically takes corrective action when it senses factors that could lead to truck or load instability.
Protecting workers and property from forklift accidents contributes directly to profits. Implementing new technologies and training techniques can help reduce the number and severity of these accidents. Even warehouse and factory floor design can contribute to safer forklift operation
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