How to Create a Forklift Safety Culture
06 Jun 2016
Delta Materials

How to Create a Forklift Safety Culture With a Compliance Checklist: Part 1

You’re going to remember the time when you thought it wouldn’t happen to you. One of your industry contacts was telling you how they paid substantial OSHA fines for allowing operators to use forklifts even after the operators completed pre-use operational compliance checklists that showed the forklifts were non-compliant.

The individual said he didn’t know the operators were saying that the forklifts weren’t in compliance. Operators said no one paid attention. “He said”/“she said” turned into a story too frustrating not to share. And then it turned into your own worst nightmare when it happened at one of your facilities.

Unfortunately for many logistics executives and warehouse general managers, this situation is all too real because of a lack of control and insight into the safe operation of forklifts. Thanks to advancements in forklift-based technologies, such as fleet and operator management systems, these instances may start to decline because of the availability of critical information that affords the opportunity to create and maintain a culture that champions safety. And if your forklift operator behavior can be changed, then it is likely they will be safer – and your facility performance metrics will be better.

Here’s a method logistics managers and executives are employing to change behavior related to forklift safety:


The easiest way to avoid being part of the story at the beginning of this article is not allowing operators to use forklifts they deem out of compliance. Today’s forklift fleet and operator management technologies are equipped with safety-based applications that manage equipment access and operator certification and streamline pre-shift inspections. New technologies control equipment access by requiring operators to enter a login prior to use.

When it comes time to conduct a safety inspection prior to using a forklift, it’s easy for an operator to check the boxes on a sheet of paper acknowledging that he or she has evaluated the forklift before using it. It’s not easy to keep track of the paper documents, review them in real-time to gauge compliance, or to tell how quickly that sheet of paper was filled out. Insert a digital compliance checklist, and you’re equipped with the data to take the mystery out of the equation.

If an operator does not deem the forklift to be in compliance, then the forklift will not start. You also have an easily accessible soft copy of the checklist that can be shown to OSHA – as opposed to scrambling to find the hard copies that may or may not still be with the forklift or in an accessible file.

This process helps keep operators accountable, and allows managers to track performance by forklift and operator and be alerted to special events, such as impacts. And, engaging with the technology has never been easier for operators. Many forklift-mounted devices are based on tablet computers that operators are familiar with from their personal lives.

Source: InBound Logistics


Leave a Comment