Every year there are more forklifts in service on the floor in China, and with those growing numbers comes a higher risk for accidents. Forklifts account for dozens of workplace fatalities every year and an even larger number of workplace injuries.
The most common ways that forklift accidents occur are improper operation, unauthorized operation or equipment failures. Operators aren’t the only ones who suffer from these accidents. At least 20% of forklift-related accidents involve pedestrians, who account for over 1/3rd of forklift fatalities. Tackling the issue of forklift safety involves a holistic consideration of a site’s operations through proactive technology, safety equipment, smart systems and maintenance.
1. Remote forklift access and smart authorization
The first step to creating a safe workplace environment is to make sure the right people, and only the right people, are operating forklifts. Authorized operators should have a clean and clear safety record as well as the proper certifications, and drivers should only have access to the vehicles they are cleared to use. Access control systems empower managers to control forklift access and monitor operation in real-time, all from a single platform.
On top of being able to view every operator’s records, certifications and access privileges, access control can update all of this information remotely. Access and authorization for a specific vehicle can be given or removed from within the system, ensuring only the proper people are operating the equipment. Smart authorization also keeps a record of who is accessing and operating each vehicle and when that occurs.
Monitoring forklift operations is another key component of accident prevention. Access control systems allow forklifts to be monitored in real-time, to track speed, acceleration, and location. Managers can adjust speed and acceleration parameters for each vehicle and adjusted for individual operators. This is especially useful for preventing accidents and injuries in high congestion areas and around tight turns regardless of whether the operator or vehicle changes.
2. Lights! Camera! Sensors!
Visibility is imperative when operating a forklift. Nearly 40% of forklift-related fatalities occur when a pedestrian is either struck crushed by a forklift. Installing additional peripherals on each vehicle improves safety for operators and pedestrians.
Lights or lasers are added so the forklift can be seen, improve operator visibility and demarcate a field of safety for nearby workers. Proximity sensors are installed to compensate for any blind spots in the operator’s field of vision. Installing wireless cameras provides a 360-degree view of the forklift’s surroundings that can be monitored by the operator from within the cockpit.
This combination of devices helps a forklift operator see and be seen, helping maintain a safe distance from any pedestrian.
3. Maintain, maintain, maintain
The average lifespan of a forklift is around 10,000 hours, with some higher-end models operating for up to 20,000 hours. The average forklift sees about 2,000 hours of work a year, meaning it will need to be replaced every 5-10 years. With constant operation, wear and tear is inevitable. Therefore, maintenance is one of the most crucial factors to ensure your machine is operating safely.
Neglecting to maintain forklifts properly can lead to catastrophic mechanical failure, which negates any added safety provided by fail-safes such as stability systems and speed and acceleration limits. Good maintenance starts with daily inspection of parts. Tires require special attention. They tend to wear out quickly and unevenly, especially if they traverse the same path every day in a warehouse. Uneven tire wear can lead to load imbalances that can cause tipping, turnover, and load dropping. All moving parts need to be lubricated, and ball bearings need to be replaced as they wear out. A part locking up could make it impossible for a forklift to shift weight fast enough to prevent tipping.
Checks are necessary at the beginning and end of each shift, so any potential mechanical issues can be identified and fixed before a forklift is operated on the floor. Even the most high-tech safety devices can’t protect workers if forklifts aren’t properly maintained.
How can ASAP help?
Forklift-related injuries in the workplace are among the most serious and often fatal. ASAP Rental offers a 360-degree solution to fleet rental and management, which means we ensure every vehicle is outfitted with the necessary safety features and properly maintained to improve workplace safety and reduce forklift-related injuries.
ASAP-Rental is a multi-brand, multi-product solutions provider that gives unparalleled attention to detail and designs solutions tailor-made for your workplace environment. ASAP’s purpose is to make sure a company not only has the tools for the job, but the job gets done right and the job gets done safely.
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