One of the most common workplace accidents in manufacturing are incidents involving forklifts. OSHA’s most current directive estimates, that in the United States alone, 35,000 serious and as many as 62,000 less serious forklift accidents happen per year.
Interestingly, absences caused by these accidents average as much as 17 days per incident. The National Safety Council has calculated that the average cost of a forklift incident is $38,000 USD. This is a perfect reason to analyze the possibility of preventing such disasters, especially as it is estimated that 70% of them are preventable.
It is the duty of every employer to ensure safety in the workplace. Most countries around the world impose legally regulated duties on the employers, which include:
- Creating safety rules and regulations for the given work environment
- Informing employees of potential hazards by providing appropriate training
- Reducing and eliminating hazards in the workplace
So What Can And Should Employers Do?
There are several actions that may be taken to prevent forklift accidents. Here are a few of the most obvious ones:
- Mark forklift travel zones using colored horizontal markings
- Install protective barriers in critical areas
- Install mirrors to increase awareness of the environment for forklift operators
- Provide adequate lighting and sound signaling for forklifts
- Apply technology warning of a potential collision with other objects for operators (so-called proximity warnings)
Avoiding Collisions With Preventive Hazard Warnings
Forklift operators, like drivers of a vehicle constantly need to observe their surroundings to identify possible risks. This is a difficult task, as in addition to the environment, one must also monitor the load being transported. Interestingly, as many as 80% of forklift accidents involve pedestrians. It is not difficult to get distracted, especially that rushing reduces vigilance. One can easily find himself under the wheels of a forklift passing by. Preventing accidents is not a trivial task – but technology can help.
TRACKGENT could be a great solution in such case. It is a proprietary, real-time positioning system for precise location of objects inside buildings, developed by SOFTGENT. Equipping employees with the appropriate tags will give access to their exact position in the workplace. The same can be done with forklifts. By knowing positions of employees and forklifts the system can easily notify operators of impending danger as it can determine direction and speed of approaching objects.
Our analyzes show that systems that warn forklift operators of danger using light signals, sound signals and other visual forms of information (e.g. tablet in forklift) can reduce the danger of accidents by more than 70%
If you care about the safety of your employees, if you want to eliminate the risk of downtime, and absence of qualified staff due to health consequences of accidents – we invite you to contact us. We have a ready-to-implement, innovative and cost-optimized solutions for you.