Justifying the cost and the time needed to conduct safety training for your forklift fleet can be a struggle. It’s easy to lean on the federal law using OSHA as a scare tactic or to use a guilt factor, encouraging others in the company to focus on their employees’ health and survival. Both arguments can be powerful, but there are other benefits of forklift safety training.
A trained operator is a more productive operator. Understanding the design, capabilities and limitations of a forklift will impact an operator’s performance. Being educated about the rules and the reason they exist will impact performance. Effective training is the foundation to building an individual’s skill, creating precise movements with little time or energy wasted.
Higher Job Satisfaction
Stress can have a profound effect on not only productivity, but job satisfaction. Operators who better understand their forklift, potential obstacles within the facility and company expectations have lower stress levels and are happier at work.
The more information operators have about the safe operation of a forklift, the better they will understand their responsibilities. This knowledge results in a decrease of damage to your product, machine and facility. Be aware of your budget allocation for damage throughout the year and investigate reasons for the recorded accidents and damages. It is possible the majority of instances could have been prevented with safer operation.
Workers compensation coverage is based on industry risk and is expensive for many companies. However, many insurance providers for buildings, products and machinery will reduce general insurance rates if a company has updated, ongoing training in compliance with the law.
Ensuring your employees survive the day without injury continues to be the primary reason to invest in forklift safety training, but reviewing additional benefits show it is worth the investment of time and money.
To learn the safety training requirements for your forklift and aerial equipment Contact Us or contact our Safety Specialist at 800-583-4023.
Operators Prepare for Hands-on Evaluation
“Why is training through my employer? Why can’t I attend and get a license at your class?”
As a provider of forklift and aerial lift safety training classes, ProLift Industrial Equipment is often asked these questions by job seekers. Having the employer ultimately responsible for providing training is a benefit to the employee and company.
First, employers are required to meet OSHA’s guidelines for operator safety training, which includes site-specific training. Being on-site lets a trainer become familiar with the employer’s facility and address specific hazards that may not be common topics (i.e. driving over railroad tracks, traveling on inclines).
Equipment also varies at each company by manufacturer or model. Employees need an overview of the equipment to learn what steps to take in case of an emergency, how each lever operates, etc.
Even after attending a forklift or aerial lift safety training class, final approval for the employee to operate in the facility is given to the employer. The completion of training isn’t enough to earn an operator wallet card – the employer needs operators committed to ongoing safety. Equipment weighs thousands of pounds, which means there is no minor accident. A direct hit by a forklift or aerial lift will damage dock doors, racking and product. It can also result in a pedestrian injury or fatality.
ProLift encourages employers to provide practice time for newly hired employees. Even (2) hours of hands-on practice with damaged goods or stacks of pallets provides a more confident and capable operator as compared to someone who operated outside the normal application a few minutes under the trainer’s eye. This effort is especially encouraged when the employee is a new operator. After training, regular monitoring of operators may also decrease abuse, damage and injury. Observation of equipment operation lets an employer quickly address reckless driving or areas in the warehouse vulnerable to hazards. Accidents, including near misses, should be addressed quickly for root cause, re-training and disciplinary action, when needed.
Are your operators due for forklift refresher training? Or, do you have new forklift operators? ProLift offers safety training classes for operators and trainers. Contact ProLift to speak to a Safety Specialist!
The purchase of a forklift is a major investment for any company. Depending on options and fuel type, new lifts may range from $18,000 – $28,000. With the pressure of the economy and the need to increase the company’s bottom line, replacing or adding to your current forklift fleet may seem impossible. However, four common options can offer a solution.
Lease & Finance Options
There are many products through lending institutions that offer custom designed lease products for your individual business needs. Some of these options include:
- Skipping a lease payment, which is beneficial for seasonal business when revenue is not generated monthly.
- Two term leases, which gives the ability to walk away at the end of the first period or significantly reduce the payment during the second term.
- Accelerated or decelerated payments, which is a fixed term with payments increasing or decreasing over the term. This option can help decrease your interest expense or reduce your current payment until business improves.
If your equipment runs less than 4 hours each day, buying used may work for your application. Many used trucks arrive in the fleet when they are turned in for trade or off-lease. In addition to the initial cost savings, most units have been reconditioned by the dealer. Upgrades may include paint, tires and safety features. Warranties are often included or available for upgrade.
Consider an Electric Pallet Truck
The electric pallet truck (EPT) is often overlooked, but will save thousands of dollars on the purchase. For applications requiring only a horizontal movement of product, you should consider an EPT.
Rental or Rental Purchase Option (RPO)
If you have a forklift need but do not have the money in the capital budget, try renting. Companies will consider discounting rental rates for long-term commitments depending on the application and usage.
A twist on renting equipment is a rental purchase option (RPO). Just as the name suggests, a new or used truck can be rented for a predetermined period and you have the option to purchase that truck while applying a portion of the rental payments. The key to RPOs is determining your long-term needs and the decision to own the truck.
Installing a VRC to Move Materials
Only the materials move with a VRC, not the employee or pallet truck.
“Our freight elevator is dangerous and out of code. Is there an alternate solution for moving materials to another level in our building?”
A freight elevator must be kept in safe working condition, which includes being compliant with national elevator codes and budgeting for expensive maintenance and repairs. Production and material changes may also result in the freight elevator no longer being a fit the company’s needs, making it inefficient and causing frustration for employees.
Companies are now turning to Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors (VRC) to solve their need to move materials to a mezzanine or within a multi-level building. The VRC only moves materials, not people or forklifts. This detail exempts the solution from the national elevator codes.
A VRC can be installed as a through-floor, interior or exterior structure. Employees operating a pallet truck or forklift approach the open doors of the guide columns to place materials on the carriage, which is then moved up or down by the mechanical / hydraulic actuating mechanism. Materials are delivered to the desired level and processed.
Already have a freight elevator in place? Depending on your production requirements and freight elevator condition, a VRC may be installed in the unused elevator shaft. Speaking to a Storage & Handling consultant will highlight how to utilize the space in your warehouse.
Contact ProLift to speak to a Storage & Handling consultant for a complimentary on-site inspection and quote of a Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor (VRC)! ProLift also offers other warehouse solutions, including mezzanines and pallet racking.
“We almost had a forklift tip-over yesterday when an operator lifted a load that was too heavy for the forklift. How can we educate our operators about the forklift’s capacity?”
Forklift operators must know how to read a data tag. The information on the tag is very important because it features unique capacity details for each piece of equipment.
With proper training, operators learn a forklift’s limitations and how its loads affect the stability. As the load center increases, the amount of weight an operator can lift to full lift height decreases. The higher the lift height, the lower the capacity of weight an operator can lift to full lift height.
How do you educate forklift operators?
- Visit the OSHA website to review regulations. OSHA outlines requirements and recommended practices as well as an overview on capacity.
- Partner with a forklift dealership to schedule operator training. The stability “triangle” of the forklift and its load center is a major class topic.
For safety, it’s also important to remove a forklift from operation if the manufacturer data tag is missing or if an operator cannot read the information on the tag. To replace your data tag, reach out to your forklift dealer partner or the manufacturer.
Schedule forklift operator training with ProLift! We offer training at your facility or ours. Contact ProLift to speak to A Safety Specialist about available dates.