Warehouses are vital to supply chain systems. As the stopping point for goods to be distributed to local retailers and stores in a region, warehouses must be efficient in managing the cargo that arrives each day. Goods must be in and out on time. Even better if they can be processed earlier.
This might explain the urgency among warehouse forklift operators. They need to get the job done fast. But if they go too fast, this can put themselves and their co-workers at risk.
From using low-speed radar guns to applying laser sensors, below are examples of forklift safety measures and rules that can prevent accidents and fatalities among warehouse workers, especially forklift operators.
Adhere to Safe Speed Limits
Considering the heft and weight of forklifts (more so when carrying a load), operators should keep the speed under five miles per hour when driving from point A to point B. Any faster, and the load could slip and fall sideways off the forks.
Unfortunately, most forklifts do not have speedometers and odometers so operators are often unaware of how fast they’re driving. One way to help them keep track of their speed is by using radar guns.
Floor supervisors can monitor the speeds of forklift operators from a distance using a low-speed radar gun like the SR3600, which we have in stock here at Radar Sports, LLC (learn more about the specs and features of the SE3600 Low-Speed Radar Gun).
As a supplementary precaution, warehouses should invest in speed detection devices that do not only show the forklift’s speed but also emit a warning alarm or indicator if the safe speed threshold has been exceeded.
Use Safety Sensors
While we’re on the subject of investing in safety devices, radar detectors would be an excellent addition to that collection. Proximity detectors that can be installed directly in the cab will help operators be more aware of their surroundings, especially when their focus is on lifting, moving, and depositing the load right in front of them.
When people or other forklifts enter the “warning zone” while the machine is moving, the device will alert the driver who can then slow down or stop altogether.
Establish Routes for Forklifts
A forklift running within the ideal speed can still be a safety hazard if it’s someplace it shouldn’t be. Forklift operators should refrain from passing through narrow connecting corridors or aisles with shelves that are too low to require forklift assistance.
These locations are likely to have high foot traffic as well, hence the need to ban hefty machines from encroaching into these pedestrian spaces.
Follow the Recommended Load Limit
Operators must resist the urge to carry more than the maximum recommended load to reduce the time and number of trips from point A to point B. Overloaded forklifts can tilt forward, putting not just the operator but also nearby people and products in harm’s way.
Never Drive with a Full-Capacity, Elevated Load
New operators must be warned against driving the forklift while the carriage is at its full height. Worse still if the fork is carrying a full load.
An elevated carriage can disrupt the forklift’s center of gravity as it moves forward. The entire machine can tip forward and sideways as a result. And if it is carrying a load, the heavy cargo can crush the people and products directly beneath it.
Strictly Enforce Safety Precautions
Forklift operators must receive training and follow the safety SOPs when driving and controlling a forklift. Examples are wearing the cab’s seat belt, lowering the carriage before turning, and slowing down when approaching sharp intersections with blind spots, passing through wet flooring, and steering in another direction.
A collective effort and participation from all warehouse employees are necessary to ensure everyone’s safety around forklifts. Take the tips above into consideration. In the meantime, equip your warehouse supervisors with a speed radar gun for more accurate speed measurement.
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