Discussion:
Forklift Accidents

In our plant we have approximately 20 forklifts running between the warehouse and the assembly lines. Aside from building columns, we have 10 floor mounted cranes throughout the plant. All too frequently we have incidents in which a forklift strikes either a building column or crane column. We have painted the columns yellow (floor to 6ft) to make them stand out and installed column protectors to reduce any damage. Ideally though, preventing the collisions is my goal. Does anyone have any advice they could share with regards to measures that have been successful in preventing these types of accidents ?

Thank-you
  • Posted 9 Dec 2010 00:52
  • Discussion started by jeff_m
  • Ontario, Canada
Jeff
Showing items 46 - 60 of 63 results.
I'll agree on the shotgun talk but Americans do talk like that sometimes. A few years ago I was in a shell of a new warehouse talking to the Project Engineer and the Project Manager of G.C. A forklift came roaring out of a back room zoomed past us and in 300,000 sq ft ran over the cords going into the only electrical outlet. Sparks flew as the wires were pulled and we all looked at each other in amazement.Safety was a big deal on this site and the day before a man had been killed on an adjacent site, so special meetings had been held. Yet this driver chose to drive at about 9 m.p.h. and drive over the only place with orange cords going into it, in a totally empty well lit warehouse. You can train,talk be nice all you want but the day comes when you have to take action. The man was put on a weeks suspension and was sweeping floors for a month. Yes morale etc is important but it is far more important to have a safe shop where individuals accept responsibility for their safety and are empowered to take action to achieve it.
  • Posted 11 Dec 2010 12:02
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
Do like Wyatt Earp did in Dodge City - have them check their modern day guns (cell phones & I-pods) in with the sheriff before they get on the lift.
  • Posted 10 Dec 2010 10:52
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
I dont see how bringing up shotguns helps anybody.
I think any human being reading this thread can understand what an unpleasant experience it is to be disciplined by a supervisor, and to suggest that operators are testing supervisors by continuing to damage company property is a little far-fetched. Perhaps the ongoing damage is the result of an unacceptable level of operator error or perhaps the flow of lift trucks through the plant can be optimised to minimise contact with obstacles. Perhaps the high level of error is the result of undue pressure to move material as quickly as possible. Do you have drivers with a drug problem, a disability or an unsuitable personality (impatience) are they operating these trucks in cramped quarters, or do you simply not have enough operators and trucks to comfortably move the material required without hustling too fast?
If you are operating in a union environment your best bet is to look for a systemic solution rather than a people solution. Getting draconian with discipline will only result in reduced morale and more combative behaviour from your workers and your union rep. So concentrate on finding ways to smooth the flow of traffic through the plant and weed-out and reassign the operators with high incidences of damage, find ways to relieve pressure on operator output and you will almost certainly see a reduction of damage. Also realise you will likely never reduce damage to zero with twenty trucks and if you expect and strive for absolute perfection, you will only add unnecessary stress and animosity for everyone. Good luck
Hey Jeff,,, if the last four comments don't help, I sure don't know what will.
  • Posted 10 Dec 2010 08:51
  • Reply by Richard_mc
  • California, United States
Jeff,
The training etc is over, time to put Mr. Nice Guy to bed.
The objective is very plain and every understands it.Now we have to establish what happens when the rules is violated.In a Union situation or any personnel dealing you should have a fixed procedure. 1 verbal and 1 written and you are out or whatever. But unless you put that in place and it is followed you don't have a chance of stopping this or any other abusive behavior.
I don't know if you are Management or Safety but you can't let the inmates run the asylum.It's not a democracy it's an autocracy. At the end of the day somebody has to make decisions good bad or different and they may be an SOB but as long as they are respected then things will get done. Your people are not respecting anybody by continuing to do the damage.
  • Posted 10 Dec 2010 08:35
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
Along with joe d comments, you better have each incident well documented.In my dealings unions and the prison system, when I fire, free staff or inmate, It's hard for the union or the state to refute accurate documention.I have a safety violation form that all the supervisors fillout in each prison for unsafe act's, it is signed by the violator after couseling of the violation and filed. Three violations thier gone, and I have the signed violations to prove to the union and the prison.Belive it or not I have never had to hire any of them back.
  • Posted 10 Dec 2010 08:25
  • Reply by Richard_mc
  • California, United States
You can only do so much prevention wise. We have operator training, certification, painted poles, lines for lanes and even yellow barriers around some of the most "operator offending poles". With over 100 forklifts running around our warehouse there's still accidents and then there are 2 words.....urine test and punishment (and I don't mean for the poles)!
  • Posted 10 Dec 2010 02:28
  • Reply by joe_d
  • Texas, United States
Ain't nothing I can't fix but a broken heart and the break of day!
Failing all the above, I have a shotgun available, that usually does the trick.
  • Posted 10 Dec 2010 02:07
  • Reply by linesman
  • Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Hello Jeff, I understand what you are going through. You have all the training in place, you have painted the items in a yellow color, you have gone over the safety issues in the warehouse and you have physically taken them through the warehouse and shown them where the hazards are, but you still have drivers running into these obstacles. This is very frustrating not only from a training aspect from from the management side of the house also, and yes the drivers actually get frustrated also. I have never worked in a union shop, but what we do when we have incidents like this is go over refresher, just as you stated you do, but if it continues we first give them a three day layoff with NO PAY....this usually wakes up the people that truly want to keep their jobs and makes them focus more on the task at hand and if that does not work, well termination is next. Another thing that you might try is ask the drivers what they think can be changed to prevent this from happening, get their input and let them be a part of the soultion. One small thing you might want to try, and you might already have done this, but paint a large yellow area around each column and crane and instruct them this is a NO DRIVE area. Who knows, the simplest things might help. Hope you find a solution, keep us informed
  • Posted 9 Dec 2010 23:42
  • Reply by TC17
  • Wisconsin, United States
We have limited the speed on all the trucks. But I don't think spped is the issue. Several times I have heard from the driver that they didn't "see" the column. My response is typically - "It's in the same place it was yesterday!". I had hoped painting the columns would make them stand out. Now I'm wondering if anyone has tried anything else that aids in making obstacles more visible.
  • Posted 9 Dec 2010 22:58
  • Reply by jeff_m
  • Ontario, Canada
Jeff
I am in favor of painting the poles and their protectors a different color than the forklifts, so any strike shows up on the forklift, and instructions signed by all operators that every pre-operation inspection report all marks of that color paint, failing to report any mark will mean that operator is the responsible party for failing to keep their forklift under control.
I also like to take ALL the operators around and make them each touch each pole, then sign that they have been instructed as to the location of these hazards.
I am also a fan of explaining to the operators that the alternative equipment they will operate will be a push broom, not even a hand pallet jack.
you could also google: "shockwatch" but this is not as much prevention as finding out who is at fault, IMHO.
  • Posted 9 Dec 2010 22:04
  • Modified 9 Dec 2010 22:10 by poster
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
I'd say make the operators pay for all the damage or take the trucks away for a week and let them see what their job is like with out them,It may hurt the plant production for a week but it will make up in damage costs.
A week with only manual pallet trucks will wake them up to work safer and appreciate the equipment and their jobs.
  • Posted 9 Dec 2010 13:17
  • Reply by roadtech
  • Ohio, United States
jeff,
If speed is the primary cause for this happening, most of your newer models have an optional feature that will limit the top travel speed of the unit. Most are factor installed options on engine powered units. On battery powered trucks the top travel speed can be adjusted via a hand set or lap-top on newer models.
Understand the union issue (been in and/or around UAW, United Steel Workers & Iron Workers shops) but most unions are behind safety of workers- if one of these "NASCAR Wanna Bees" takes done a column the chance for a major casualty is very great. Some one can discuss this with the union reps, if this a big problem - show them the facts..
  • Posted 9 Dec 2010 13:07
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
"Have An Exceptional Day!"
This seems to be the most common accident. The customers I have, that have this problem of operators hitting columns, take it very seriously. After the second or third time they aren't driving a forklift anymore. They force everyone to slow down if it is a persistant problem and then go after the ones driving too fast.
  • Posted 9 Dec 2010 04:55
  • Reply by mrfixit
  • New York, United States
There have been occasions where we have moved people out of the department and/or banned them from driving company equipment. We are a union shop, so termination can be a bit tricky. At least for a first offense. I completely agree that discipline is key, but by that time, the incident has already happened.
  • Posted 9 Dec 2010 04:47
  • Reply by jeff_m
  • Ontario, Canada
Jeff

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