Safety precautions for reducing forklift accidents

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 july sb 2july sb

Forklifts are constantly in motion, playing a significant role in the world of commerce. With that notion, keeping safety top of mind is critical in material handling.

Almost 100,000 accidents happen each year around forklifts. While even one injury or incident resulting from the misuse of forklifts is too many, there are tools and methods that can help create a safe environment and help avoid future occurrences. Some contributing factors to watch out for in helping to prevent accidents are workspace layout and design, inadequate training and improper maintenance. It’s essential to incorporate the right safety techniques in these key areas.

WORKSPACE LAYOUT AND DESIGN

Best practices in warehouse/pedestrian safety begin with the design of the workspace and understanding what the material flow and its frequency and volume is intended to be. A poorly designed material flow and aisle layout can be main contributors to forklift accidents.

If a facility is operating multiple forklifts, whether it be the same model or different classes of trucks, make sure the design is built out effectively. Fleet managers may need to segregate the forklifts, so they are not traveling where they don’t belong. The workplace should be very organized and visually easy to manage. This can help contribute to a safer work environment.

The design also needs to take into consideration the model of the truck in operation. Many trucks are not applicable for a particular environment. For instance, a class IV or V truck is just too big for a narrow aisle, and its turning radius may not be appropriate for an area designed for a class II vehicle. It’s important to identify the right type of forklift(s) for a specific workspace need.

OPERATOR TRAINING

Under current laws and regulations, employers are required to train and evaluate forklift operators. Operator training typically begins in the classroom to understand the safety principles and the fundamentals of forklift operation and maintenance.

After educational training is complete, operators are then directed to a hands-on/practical interaction with the forklift, where they are placed into a safe environment for evaluation. It’s typically best practice to place the operator in an environment that is similar to what they would be doing, so they can be evaluated effectively. Employers are ultimately required to evaluate the operator’s performance in the workplace.

Retraining is also important for operators who have been in the field for a long time and is required at least once every three years. Many operators who have been in the business for a long time are noticing that a lot has changed over the years, especially related to technology. The skill set is changing as technology becomes more advanced. All drivers can benefit from a refresher training course.

In addition, service technicians should have not only proper operating training but also proper technical training. This gives them the expertise needed to understand the proper operation, location and function of the safety features designed into the equipment and how to properly troubleshoot, diagnose and repair the truck safely.

PROPER MAINTENANCE

Regulation requires that every forklift is inspected each day before it is put into operation, which is a very important step. All facilities should have a comprehensive inspection checklist for each operator before the start of the shift. Completing this step fully can be challenging if a company has multiple drivers sharing a forklift throughout the workday. If something is identified that can affect forklift safety, it should be reported immediately, and the forklift should not be placed into service until it has been inspected and repaired. The same applies if the issue is found during the shift.

While paper systems are still heavily used, there has been a move towards robust technology such as MLA
FleetControl that electronically ties the operator to the forklift. These types of systems can also track when the inspection checklist has been completed.

While daily checklists are required, it’s also important to implement a routine maintenance program. There are some potential serious consequences to safety if critical safety equipment or systems, like brakes or hydraulics, were to fail. Scheduled,
preventive maintenance is not just a matter of replacing filters and oil, it includes checking key safety points like brakes, steering, emergency shut-off features and hydraulic systems. It’s crucial to employ trained and certified technicians to inspect and maintain the forklifts. The biggest factors are performing equipped to service the machines.

There are other risks that can contribute to diminished safety. Operators should always maintain control of the
forklift and avoid turning with an elevated load. Excessive traveling speed can also have a negative effect on safety. Speed can be regulated with different controls on the forklift. What’s important is that each company should evaluate its own situation and set speed limits that make sense for its operators and the workspace environment.

There’s no doubt that over the years forklift technological advancements have helped improve safety, and OEMs are offering more features and options to help mitigate hazards in the workplace. Safety lighting such as blue spotlights and/or red zone lights being added to the equipment are relatively inexpensive while being very effective. Both types of lights can help pedestrians and others in the area where forklifts are working be more aware that a forklift is near them and to stay alert.


Telematics can help monitor and record driver behaviour and results and can also track collisions, speed and location.This type of data is used to give proper feedback to employers and drivers, so they’re able to use it to modify behaviour. Data can also shed light on the warehouse itself and whether or not improvements to the design and layout should be made. Other technological features like object detection sensors and cameras are also becoming more prevalent to help supplement the operator’s direct visibility. The beeping sound emerging from the object detection system helps communicate to the operator and identify objects in the travel path.

It’s important to note that there are ways to help create a safe environment every day. Fleet managers should work together with the
local forklift dealer to help determine what’s best for them when it comes to the workplace environment and their application, the types of forklifts they’ll use each day and what the material flow will be, what they can do to improve maintenance and whether or not they should use in-house training to get their operators in the field quicker.

For further information about how to improve safety around forklifts, contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or
www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.mhlnews.com.

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How to improve safety around forklifts

Posted in News


 pedestrian safetyjune 2019

Forklifts pose several risks to pedestrians in the workplace. The rear counterweight can turn very quickly (running the risk of crushing a pedestrian), plus they are heavy, take time to stop and have several blind spots. Forklifts can be dangerous when not treated with respect and can inflict serious damage to worksite property and worse, cause injuries or even death.

Forklifts pose several risks to pedestrians in the workplace. The rear counterweight can turn very quickly (running the risk of crushing a pedestrian), plus they are heavy, take time to stop and have several blind spots. Forklifts can be dangerous when not treated with respect and can inflict serious damage to worksite property and worse, cause injuries or even death.

The human and financial cost of forklift-related accidents is immense. But in reality, many forklift incidents could be avoided if operators followed best-practice forklift safety procedures. Below are some tips to improve forklift safety procedures, and stop workers being injured.

1. Stabilise forklift loads and attachments
Falling loads present one of the greatest dangers for workers. Pedestrian staff are most at risk when attempting to help the forklift operator in loading and unloading operations. Heavy loads that are not properly secured can slip and fall on the worker.
In addition, workers are at risk when the forklift is used in ways the manufacturer didn’t intend (eg, a forklift lifting more weight than it is designed to handle can cause the forklift to tip over). Effective forklift safety procedures should ensure appropriate attachments are used for certain kinds of loads. Workers unsure of how the attachments work should be trained as soon as possible. Ensure workers never overload forklifts and correct attachments are fitted. Loads need to be properly stabilised before moving them.

2. Set up safety exclusion zones to segregate pedestrian workers from forklifts
Keeping pedestrians away from forklifts minimises the likelihood of accidents resulting in injury or death.
Designate safety exclusion zones for both forklift operators and pedestrians, keeping them a safe distance apart.
Include forklift safety procedures to make sure people are where they should be. To do so, you can use physical barriers including:
• Fences and guardrails
• Bright tape stuck to the floor
• Boom gates and traffic lights
Another option for keeping pedestrians away from mobile plant is constructing overhead walkways to provide workers a way to walk over areas where heavy vehicles operate. Also, make sure workers always comply with the rules and regulations of the workplace.

3. Ensure forklift drivers always wear seatbelts
In a case where a forklift tips over or collides with a wall, seatbelts can save the drivers from injury or death.
Seatbelts prevent drivers being thrown out of the forklift and out of harm’s way in the event of heavy load falling. Make sure forklift operators always wear seatbelts — it needs to be compulsory while operating forklifts. Use signs placed around the workplace to remind workers.
Check all seatbelts in forklifts are in good condition and fitted correctly (as per the manufacturer’s instructions). In a worst-case scenario, a seatbelt that does its job will save lives.

For further information about how to improve safety around forklifts, contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or
www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.safetysolutions.net.au

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Forklift 'Safety Halo' proves to be a saviour for warehouses

Posted in News


 safety halomay 19

A medium sized forklift weighs about the same as an average dump truck — and can cause just as much damage or injury. In fact, forklifts are still one of the greatest health and safety hazards in our warehouses and manufacturing sites.

 

safety halo

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the USA, the equipment operator is the victim in 42 percent of fatal forklift incidents. This means that nearly 60 percent of incident casualties are suffered by innocent pedestrians or fellow workers.
These statistics are similar worldwide, and thousands more are injured every year from either falling loads or manoeuvring forklifts on site. But it’s not just the forklift operator who has a responsibility for safety.

Smart site design and safety features a good starting point for WAREHOUSE safety
As with any risk, preventing a serious injury starts with design. An intelligent warehouse floor design considers movement and activity flows throughout the warehouse and identifies high-risk, forklift-only areas to eliminate interactions between workers and forklifts.

Outside of forklift-only areas, the use of barriers and designated walkways will isolate workers from machinery. Forklift safety features should also be considered. Does the forklift have: an audible alarm, overhead guards, blue tracking lights, an operator presence system, automatic stability systems, or orange forks to increase visibility?

Forklift ‘Safety Halo’ an innovative method for working around machinery
No matter how much we improve our site designs for workplace safety, there will always be some interaction between forklifts operators and non-operators. So what can pedestrians, workers and operators do to minimize risk in the workplace?

At MLA Holdings Pty Ltd, we have implemented the forklift ‘Safety Halo’ to help our customers and staff safely navigate working around forklifts. The initiative is based around two safety halos, one set 1 meter from the machine and another 2 meters from the machine. The "Safety Halo" is a virtual two-ring safety zone around any forklift or mobile equipment and, as a worker or pedestrian approaches the forklift, a set of simple rules apply within each safety halo zone:

  1. The Danger Zone (1 m): the operator must immobilise the forklift to prevent any injury
  2. The Warning Zone (2m): requires equal focus by both the operator and pedestrian. Both must make eye contact; the pedestrian must indicate their intentions; and the operator is required to yield the right of way.

This new forklift policy also states that the forklift operator must always look in the direction of travel. If view is obstructed, the forklift must be operated in reverse. The ‘Safety Halo’ is a simple way to facilitate the need for increased awareness regarding safe factory-floor equipment transport practice. And it’s easy to implement

For further forklift safety halo information or quotations to include any information about Mitsubishi forklift safety features, contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or
www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.compacsort.com.

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Three add-on features to enhance your forklifts safety

Posted in News


 safety zoneapril 19   

Studies show that thousands of fatal or near-fatal accidents are still happening every year in warehouses.
Amongst the causes, visibility is a major issue. With more than half of forklift accidents seriously injuring workers on foot, it's clear that more should be done to give pedestrians better warning when a truck is getting too close

This article zooms in on what you can add to your forklift to enhance safety. For now, we will skip topics like proper driver training, creating a safer environment and workplace inbuilt safety systems. Working safely in a place where forklifts operate is part of a much wider safety topic which cannot possibly be covered in a short article.

1. Audible alarms
As obvious as it may ‘sound’, you should first make sure your forklifts have audible alarms – and that they are working properly. Good drivers will use the horn when approaching corners, but the truck must also have a reversing alarm with a distinctive sound, so pedestrians can recognise and anticipate this even greater hazard.

2. Blue spot lights / strobe lights
When a workplace is busy or noisy, however, you can't always rely on auditory cues to know where trucks are. If many forklifts are in action, or if there is a lot of background noise from machinery, it may be difficult for pedestrians to hear the truck that’s just about to come around a corner.

Your forklift is probably already fitted with standard safety lights, but a blue spot light is a good additional safety accessory; it certainly enhances the visibility of oncoming forklifts to pedestrians. This feature projects an intense spotlight or line over 6 metres in front and/or rear of an operating forklift, alerting nearby traffic and workers to its presence. This is particularly useful in giving an early warning that a forklift is approaching a blind corner, or is entering or exiting a trailer, a container or a warehouse door. Strobe lights can also serve as a good visual warning.

3.  Safety zone system
A further advance on the blue spot idea is the safety zone system. It uses high-powered LEDs to project bright, bold red lines on the floor behind and to the sides of a truck. This is the ‘safety zone’ (see picture). These lines clearly show all workers the minimum distance they must maintain to continue working safely. When a workplace is busy, this extra visual aid simply makes all the difference.

If people stray inside the danger area, the driver may be warned by a buzzer or some other alert system. The safety zone system is one of those quick solutions which can be fitted to both used and new trucks and is easily understood by employees.

Although add-ons enhance overall safety, the improvement they make is a functional one. As a Manger, it is important that you find the right balance between your forklift’s capabilities and your drivers’ safety skills. Achieving an acceptable safety level is always the result of a larger, ongoing program.

For further forklift safety information or quotations to include any of the three add-on safety features, contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from
www.forkliftbriefing.co.uk

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New standards to boost forklift safety

Posted in News


 engin-manutention.jpgmarch safety   

Industry buy-in for effort to adopt new international standards
Forklift users across the country stand to benefit from intended safety improvements outlined in several international standards recently adopted in Australia, with more to come over the next 12 months, Standards Australia reports.




A number of international standards governing industrial trucks, or forklifts, have recently been adopted as Australian standards following "extensive stakeholder consultation".

The International Standards adopted have benefited from heavy influence of Australian experts ensuring their application in Australia, underpinned by international best practice.

"Industrial trucks (forklifts) are used right across Australia for many different applications, and these new publications will focus on those areas that prioritise driver safety," said CEO of Standards Australia Dr Bronwyn Evans says.  The effort has gained the backing of the relevant industry body.

"The industrial truck industry in Australia is one deeply committed to safety, and these standards which are supported by international best practice are excellent tools to help drivers, operators and those maintaining these vehicles to do so at the high standard expected by the Australian community," Sue Hart, executive officer of the Australian Forklift and Industrial Truck Association (AFITA), says. 

ME-026 Industrial Trucks, the relevant technical committee of Standards Australia, has been working tirelessly to publish a number of standards developed by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) on industrial trucks (forklifts), Standards Australia says.

Several have been delivered recently, with multiple standards still underway at various stages of development.
"Australia is leading the way in improving safety of industrial truck standards in part due to our robust WHS/OHS legislation," Stan Palmer, who chairs the Standards Australia technical committee responsible for the work in Australia, says.

"These improvements include the sequential seatbelt now required to be fitted to all sit-down counterbalance forklifts to ensure the operator is using the seatbelt, as well as the slow-down of electric forklifts when the mast is elevated reducing the risk of tip-over.

MLA has been an active committee member of AFITA from 2002 and has participated in the development of ISO standards for industrial trucks since 2002. Where possible, the committee will continue to adopt ISO standards rather than developing Australian Standards in relation to industrial trucks ensuring international guidance is brought into the Australian community."

For further forklift safety information contact MLA Holdings on 131 652 or
www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.fullyloaded.com.au.


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Forklift Safety

Posted in News


 feb 2019feb 2019 3   

The forklift truck is one of the most widely-used tools in today’s workplace, spanning multiple industries. From warehouses to construction and every industry in between, forklifts can conquer heavy-lifting with ease. This ease, however, also presents many dangers. Fortunately, the dangers can be balanced through proper use, training, and safety awareness. The following are some free or low-cost ways you can ensure forklift safety in your own industry.



Offer Forklift Safety Training
The first line of safety in forklift operation is to ensure your operators have proper training. The important thing to remember is that forklifts have the potential to be very dangerous to operators and surrounding employees if your operators are not trained properly, so ensuring the proper safety protocols are followed through extensive training will benefit your company’s safety numbers and your employee’s productivity.

Present General Forklift Safety to All Employees
Even if some of your employees will not be operating forklifts, all employees should be
aware of general forklift safety if they are to work around the machines. The following tips will encourage forklift operation safety:
  • Never jump on the forklift tines, and never ride on the tines or a load.
  • Never ride on any other part of the forklift unless the forklift is specifically equipped for a rider.
  • If the forklift is rider-equipped and you are riding, always wear your seatbelt. If the forklift happens to tip, never jump from the tipping forklift. Instead, lean away from the direction you are falling and stay in your seat.
  • Never stand under the tines or under a load. Hydraulics could give out at any time.
  • Stay away from the specified forklift path. If you must cross the path, use cross-paths if available, and always look both ways before crossing.
Supervise Operators for Safety
Ensuring your operators are following forklift safety is also important to maintaining high safety records. Supervisors should be aware of necessary safety protocols and should watch for any safety mistakes, such as the following:
  • Overloading the forklift/ Improper load placement and/or instability
  • Turning too quickly
  • Driving too fast overall and/or driving too fast on slippery surfaces
  • Travelling blindly/allowing the load to block the driver’s view
  • Tailgating another forklift or passing another forklift in a no-passing zone
  • Participating in horseplay or other unsafe activities
Overall, forklift safety is possible with the correct training and supervision. Because your workplace and employee safety are the most important part of your business, informing yourself, your supervisors, your forklift operators and your general employees about forklift safety will improve your safety and your employee productivity numbers.

For further forklift safety information contact MLA Holdings on 131 652 or
www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.safetyfirst.org.au.


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