To some forklift operators who have been in the material handling business for years, driving these vehicles is a piece of cake. Regardless of application, employees with advanced expertise are more prone to grow complacent when they have already mastered the trade. As a result, you may find some of these operators doing things novice operators would not do as a result of becoming easily distracted. The same narrative can also unfold with many new drivers as well, as the sheer rigors of the environment can easily distract attention. Whether you have been a material handler for two weeks or two decades, distractions find a way of creeping into the workplace. Here are five ways to eliminate them:
1) No Food or Drinks While Operating The Forklift – This one is a no-brainer. Food and beverages do not only impede hands-free operation, they are also a potent distraction. Even if an operator grabbed a quick cup of coffee or a snack from the meal truck, there is a prospect of danger. A hot coffee spill can cause disastrous effects be that numerous accidents have been caused in motor vehicles from similar incidents occurring. According to AisleCop, food and beverages on the forklift leads to a casual operating attitude, which is often a prelude to catastrophe.
2) Disparage Complacency – Even if a forklift operator has years of experience, this does not meant that trouble cannot come their way if they do not exercise the same caution and discretion as a beginner. Even if an operator can handle any forklift in any environment, indoor or outdoor, narrow aisle or production floor, they should always keep their eyes focused in front of them, constantly surveying the area for potential pitfalls. Even if the routine is the same every day, it never means that the next day will not be different.
3) Only Allow Hands-Free Devices – Forklift drivers should always strive to keep their hands free at all times, in the event that a quick and swift maneuver must be executed. Sometimes experience can be a hindrance, fostering a belief that the same job can be carried out with less effort or attention. In some instances supervisors may actually find some advanced drivers talking on the phone as they engage in labor. This should be eliminated at all costs, only allow hands-free technology, but even then this could be a perilous endeavor. The industry is constantly evolving and thus new forms of equipment and tools are becoming available to the masses.
4) Foster Comprehension of New Technologies – For those drivers used to traditional forklift operations, some may not be up to speed on new technologies. As a result, experienced operators may actually be more vulnerable for an accident than a novice operator, because they are accustomed to a certain way of doing things. Learning new technologies is a great way to be the best forklift operator, even if they have many years on the job. Failing to do so can result in a flood of distractions. Something as simple as new indicators on a LED display can cause enough of a disruption of attention to wreak havoc if the conditions are right.
5) Stress Evaluations- Bottom line, stress can be a great adversary for any employee. It is imperative to ensure forklift operators are mentally sound before getting behind the wheel. If an employee has been noticeably stressed or perhaps is dealing with anxiety from workplace or personal matters, it is prudent to evaluate their stress level and ascertain whether or not they are fit to perform behind the wheel.