Safety | KION North America

Category Archives: Safety

Why You Should Use Daily Safety Checklists

Safety checklists may seem like repetitive or even unnecessary actions; however, using them not only helps the safety of your employees, but they also positively influence the overall function of your warehouse itself. Understanding the purpose behind daily safety checklists is something you should check off your list. Read more below to gain a better understanding of the importance of using daily safety checklists and how to implement them:

Utilizing Checklists

There are a variety of general checklists that are offered to companies to ensure warehouse safety. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, provides safety checklists that correspond to laws and regulations that help to keep employees working their workspace safe. Following the checklists that they offer will help guide your warehouse’s general safety. These checklists also assess employees to ensure they are properly handling materials and equipment and following procedures set by the warehouse.

Making Warehouse Specific Checklists

By creating your own warehouse specific checklists, you are helping to ensure the safety of your warehouse. Tailoring checklists to your own work environment helps to ensure more safety. By including employees in the process, discussion and feedback can result in even stronger safety protocols. Evaluating safety checklists periodically helps to cover all areas of a warehouse, making sure nothing is left unsafe.

Equipment Safety Checklists

Using warehouse safety checklists daily helps to ensure general safety; however, by following equipment specific checklists for machinery such as forklifts can help avoid potential safety concerns. Operating forklifts pose numerous hazards; however, using daily checklists to make sure they are functioning properly will help prevent major issues caused by these machines. Conducting safety checklists for all equipment in your warehouse will further help keep employees free from danger.

Using daily safety checklists are essential to the overall safety of your warehouse and your employees. Safety is of utmost importance to us at KION; therefore, we understand the importance of using safety checklists.

Top 6 Forklift Options to Reduce Maintenance Costs

One of the biggest keys to having a profitable business is to find ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction. Buying a forklift, regardless of size, is expensive enough so the maintenance can be even steeper in price. We have compiled a list to help your company save some coins in maintenance costs to make sure you are providing quality as a standard to your company and your customers.

Repair Floors and Eliminate Sources of Tire Damage

Worn out floors can cause serious damage to your forklifts’ tires if the floors have holes or are badly worn down. Debris and waste such as plastic, wooden pieces, and other trash can also cause tire damage, which eventually leads to your machine needing new tires. Making sure that your manufacturing site upholds cleanliness standards and investing in smooth, even floors can eliminate the chances of employee accidents and machine damage.

Introduce Forklift Operating Safety Training

When is the last time your forklift operators participated in a forklift operating safety training? If you could not answer immediately, that means that it is time to plan for a training session. These sessions act as a refresher on safety protocol, while also update operators on any new driving/handling techniques when operating the forklifts. The benefits of these training sessions are that they increase forklift operator awareness and significantly decrease the amount of damage to the machines and any inventory.

Sticking to One Brand of Forklifts 

Various companies make forklifts, and not all of these machines are made the same. Different companies like to add on signature gadgets to build their brand stand out, and these additions can come additional costs. It may be a smart investment to be consistent with the brand of forklifts that your company uses to ensure that you do not have to kick out extra maintenance fees for different brands of forklifts.

Replace Tires and Wheels Frequently

Due to the lack of suspension that forklift machines have, their tires and wheels are prone to become worn down very easily and require frequent maintenance. An excellent investment tool would be to invest in shock absorption pads and replace tires and wheels frequently. Even the most skilled forklift driver is bound to have an incident on while operating the machine. These minor accidents can accumulate damages very quickly, and soon, you will need to replace an expensive machine. Investing in shock alarms to help indicate and absorb some shock will help keep track of how often to replace tires.

Setup a Maintenance Program

Having a contract with a maintenance provider could help companies maintain repair costs. Instead of having unexpected, or large repair bills, Have a monthly fixed price with a service provider to address any problems and eliminate the potential for any significant issues in the future. This is why sticking to one brand of forklifts is essential because this one factor could help to regulate the monthly cost of your maintenance bill. Even if there are no significant repairs one month, the constant upkeep on your machines will save you a ton in the long run.

Investing in Multi-Function Display Screens

Multi-function display screens are vital to any machine. Their primary function is to display the performance of forklift, determine its current condition, and if it’s time for any maintenance checks. It can control and regulate the speed of the forklifts and even measure oil levels. This is a brilliant investment to have seeing as it does most of maintenance monitoring for you.

How to Prevent Accidents When Using a Pallet Truck

The most important thing in any work site is the safety of all employees. Many accidents can occur while actively working on loading docks, so it’s important to take the necessary steps in safety. The following will help to prevent accidents when using a pallet truck.

Loading Dock and Lorry
When you begin working with the pallet truck, you must lessen the variance between the loading dock and the floor of the warehouse. This way the pallet truck can move efficiently in and out of the lorry, which decreases the chances of an accident transpiring. It is never a bad idea to invest in a good dock leveler as well.

The Use of Traffic Lights
These traffic lights are just like the traffic lights we see on regular roads, they are used to avoid a collision. You can install them on both the interior and exterior of a warehouse. Like a car, the pallet truck has the authorization to enter the lorry at a green light only.

Suspended Castor or Drive Wheels
You will want to look into suspended castors or drive wheels for your pallet truck. These types of wheels will take in shocks and vibrations. However, the suspended castors give the truck much more solidity, this is a good safety characteristic to have.

Brakes
While space is more restricted on the dock, this makes it more important that a pallet truck is able to maneuver well and also brake quickly. The power pallet truck, for example, is able to slow down much quicker and is easier to brake on command. You’ll want to make sure that your brakes are properly working before operating a pallet truck.

We hope you find this useful and if you have any questions or regards to the operation of a pallet truck or would like to find out more, you can reach us through our website or call us at 843-875-8000.

Tips for Improving Loading Dock Safety

There are always precautions one must take in ensuring a safe environment for workers, a big standard that should be taken seriously is loading dock safety. Here we have listed some tips to make sure that the proper measures are taken to keep loading dock safety a top priority!

Appropriate Lighting
There should be a sufficient amount of light, both in and out, of the dock area at all times. This helps in protecting workers from getting into accidents with machinery. Lighting assists in illuminating any hazards that might not be evident during evening hours. However with that being said, one should always be constantly aware of their surroundings in this type of work setting.

Add Protection
There are certain additions that should be provided such as bumpers, mirrors and chocks. Bumpers should be placed at the end of loading dock piles, so if a vehicle or piece of machinery were to accidentally hit the pole the damage would be reduced. Mirrors should be set accordingly on the work site to give drivers the ability to see any perils that might be in their blind spot. Lastly, chocks must be accessible for drivers trying to park vehicles on site.

Training and Certification
To operate a forklift cautiously needs correct training and prior experience.
Forklifts aren’t toys and shouldn’t be treated as such, they should be handled maturely and accordingly. This type of equipment should also be driven at a slow and vigilant speed.
Accidents can be easily avoided if the driver is fully attentive and aware at all times. Operators should also closely inspect loads before and after transferring them. If not checked beforehand, a casualty is more likely to occur.

A Clean Work Site
Everything should be properly stowed or located in the a designated area when not being used. Also having markings as a clear-cut indicator of where one should and shouldn’t walk to or go when work is in progress.

Service/Repairs
Docks and machinery should be inspected regularly. If something were to shift or if your dock were to sag while you are operating a vehicle it could cause a major accident on site. By being proactive about maintenance beforehand, these types of problems shouldn’t occur.

These are simple and useful tips for creating a safe work environment. If you ever have any questions or regards to improving dock loading safety, please feel free to contact us.

5 Essential Elements of Forklift Safety

Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicate that approximately 34,900 forklift injuries occur every year. A number of factors contribute to accidents, including equipment and operator error. To reduce the risk of injury, it is crucial that operators understand the dangers asociated with improper operation of a forklift.

In honor of National Forklift Safety Day on June 12, KION North America urges facility managers to stress the importance of safe forklift operation throughout their facilities. Here are five essential elements of forklift safety that your company must put into practice.

Complete the required training

Only employees who have received proper training and certification can legally operate a forklift. Operators who fail to complete the necessary training have an increased risk of injury to themselves and those around them. Allowing an employee without the proper certification to handle a forklift can result in tens of thousands of dollars in fines for the employer.

OSHA’s training program entails practical training and a workplace performance evaluation. Additionally, OSHA requires that operators are evaluated every three years. An operator must meet OSHA’s training course requirements to continue operating a forklift.

Perform regular checkups

To maximize forklift safety, operators should perform routine inspections of their equipment. Items to check include seat belts, tires, lights, brakes, backup alarms, fluid levels and the forks. Any issues with equipment should be reported to a supervisor, and the forklift should immediately be removed from service.

Stay aware of surroundings

While operating the equipment, operators should be aware of their surroundings as well as worksite rules and guidelines. Carefully observe signs for maximum permitted floor loadings and clearance heights. Operators should also pay attention to the height of the load when entering and exiting the warehouse.

In regards to pedestrians, it’s important that operators slow down when approaching heavily-populated areas, such as intersections, corners, and stairways.

Maintain load stability

One of the leading causes of forklift-related injuries is tip-over, which can occur when a forklift carries an unstable load. Operators should ensure loads are completely balanced and secured on the forks before operating to prevent tip-overs.

Operators should also keep the load low to the ground to increase safety. When traveling on ramps and grades, the load should point up the incline regardless of the direction of travel.

Store forklifts properly

After a shift has ended, it’s important for each operator to park the forklift in its designated, authorized area. The forks should be fully lowered to the ground, and the parking brake should be applied. Finally, the forklift should be turned off, and the key should be removed from the ignition and stored in the proper place.

Proper operation of forklifts and other material handling equipment is essential to the safety of your warehouse. Let National Forklift Safety Day serve as a reminder to practice these and other elements of forklift safety year-round.

At KION North America, warehouse safety is a top priority. That’s why we provide facility managers with outstanding forklift models leading the way in efficiency and safety. Contact your local authorized dealer today to find the best forklift for your material handling needs.

Avoiding Common Forklift Accidents

Every year, thousands of people are injured in accidents involving forklifts, with forklift accidents being one of the most common incidents in the warehouse. Common incidents include forklift overturn, workers being struck by a lift, and falls from a forklift. These incidents occur despite the fact that most forklift accidents are avoidable.

The warehouse can be a hazardous place, but there are ways to reduce the risk of forklift accidents occurring. The following are some of the most common causes of forklift accidents, with a few tips for avoiding them.

Improper or Insufficient Training

A driver who is not properly trained to operate a forklift is an extreme hazard in the workplace. They may not know how to operate the various mechanisms of the lift, or are unable to respond to the changing conditions of the workplace. Without proper training, forklift operators put themselves and their fellow workers in danger.

The best way to ensure safe forklift operation is to thoroughly and properly train drivers, both in general forklift knowledge as well as in particulars of the warehouse or work environment.

Faulty Equipment

Faulty equipment is another common cause of forklift accidents. Conducting preliminary checks is the best way to reduce the risk of equipment failing on you while operating a forklift. While there is no way to ensure that a forklift will not fail while you are operating it, conducting these checks can alert you to potential issues and allow you to avoid preventable incidents and injuries.

Speeding

Speeding while driving a forklift is a reckless behavior that can result in serious injury in the event of an accident. Speeding on a forklift affects the operator’s reaction time, making it more likely an accident will occur if something falls in front of the lift or a person darts out into the driver’s path. OSHA recommends that forklift operators do not exceed 5 miles per hour.

This is another instance where proper training can help avoid an accident or injury. Operators with sufficient training understand the risks associated with the improper use of a forklift, and follow the protocols and procedures to avoid such risks. Managers should also be on the lookout to ensure that drivers are not speeding.

Collisions With Pedestrians and Other Vehicles

Collisions between forklifts and pedestrians or other vehicles are a common cause of injury in the warehouse. Not only can these accidents result in injury to team members, but they can also damage equipment, costing the warehouse time and money for repairs.

The key to avoiding collisions in the warehouse is communication. When workers have an open line of communication, they can alert one another to their whereabouts as well as potential problems or hazards. Pedestrians and workers can also wear bright clothing to draw the forklift operator’s attention.

Poor Floor Design or Layout

The layout of a warehouse can greatly affect workers’ ability to work safely and efficiently in the space. From narrow aisles and sharp turns to poor lighting and marking, a poor layout can make it extremely difficult for forklifts to maneuver through the warehouse. The workplace may even be inadvertently designed in a way that increases the risk of collisions and tip over.

A good floor design is clean and well-lit, has maneuverable, uncluttered aisles, as well as proper floor marking and warning signs. The warehouse floor should not be an obstacle course for forklift operators to navigate.

While the warehouse floor can be ripe with potential hazards to forklift operators and other workers, many common forklift accidents are avoidable. When drivers are sufficiently trained, equipment is checked, and the warehouse floor is properly designed, the risk of accidents and injuries occurring is greatly reduced. By following our tips for avoiding common forklift accidents, your warehouse can operate safely and efficiently.

6 Tips for Safely Operating a Forklift Outdoors

Forklifts are useful not only on the warehouse floor, but can also be useful to lift and handle heavy loads and lifting outdoors. Forklifts may be used outdoors on construction sites, docks and container yards, or lumberyards, lifting heavy materials even on the roughest terrain.

While outdoor forklifts are extremely useful, operating a forklift outdoors and on rough terrain presents certain challenges that operating a forklift indoors does not. Here are a few tips to help you minimize risk and safely operate a forklift outdoors.

Stay Alert

Inside or out, it is extremely important to stay focused while operating a forklift. Operators should be constantly checking their surroundings, keeping an eye out for other workers or unexpected surprises. In an outdoor environment, there are even more potential hazards and surprises, meaning you should stay particularly alert to your surroundings. You may encounter wildlife, stray branches, rocks and more when using a forklift outdoors, and need to be prepared in the event that you do.

Check Fluids and Tires

Before stepping foot on the forklift, you should do preliminary checks such as checking tires and fluids. Overinflated tires may explode, and rough terrain filled with rocks and other hazards increases the chances of an incident occurring. On the other hand, under inflated tires may go flat, and the outdoor terrain can make it more difficult to conduct the necessary repairs.

Check fluid levels to ensure that your lift is at top performance. With fluids like oil and antifreeze at the proper levels, you’re more likely to avoid overheating the engine in the summer and freezing it in the winter.

Mind the Terrain

In a warehouse, the terrain does not change from a smooth operating floor. Outdoors, however, it’s a different story. You may be on smooth asphalt one moment, and a rough gravel road the next. The terrain may be even and flat before suddenly becoming uneven or hilly.

It’s important for operators to be mindful of the changing terrain, and prepare to make the necessary adjustments. The driver should practice operating a forklift on the various terrains they expect to encounter, such as dirt or gravel.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Weather can greatly influence the safety of forklift operation outdoors, presenting new challenges for the operator as the terrain changes and the forklift itself is affected. It is essential that forklift operators working outdoors pay attention to the weather, understanding how the conditions will impact their ability to safely operate the lift.

Check the weather forecast before beginning operation, and consider postponing operations in the event of inclement weather. Also be mindful of seasonal weather issues, such as snow or ice in the winter and heat in the summer. Seasonal factors can impact the terrain, the forklift, as well as the driver’s ability to operate.

Communicate

In a collaborative environment like a warehouse or construction site, communication is key to safe and efficient operations. Even if workers are not working on the same project, it is essential that forklift operators are in communication with their fellow workers, alerting one another to changing conditions and any issues that arise.

Forklifts are powerful, heavy pieces of machinery, and can cause great harm to people if an accident occurs. Communication reduces the risk of such incidents, as an operator can alert other workers as to the lift’s objectives and whereabouts.

Even the most experienced forklift operators face unexpected challenges outdoors and on rough terrain. By following these tips, operators can greatly reduce the risk of an incident occurring, promoting the safety and efficiency of the construction site, dockyard, or other outdoor environment.

Ergonomics and Warehouse Safety

A warehouse can pose many health and risk factors to its workers if the right safety procedures and standards are not in place. Ergonomics is the practice of designing or refining elements of the workplace to optimize efficiency while decreasing risks to workers health and well-being. In the material handling world, ergonomics is extremely important for keeping workers safe and free of injury.

While many aspects of the warehouse environment fall under worker safety, from forklift safety to proper training, ergonomics refers to those injuries to the musculoskeletal system, often sustained from forceful exertion, sustained awkward postures, repetitive movement and more. When lifting and handling heavy materials in the warehouse, these factors can lead to serious injury and even chronic conditions or disability. Not only do such injuries decrease warehouse efficiency, but they can also cost the organization a substantial amount in worker’s compensation and disability insurance.

It is impossible to remove ergonomic risk factors from the warehouse entirely, but there are ways to reduce these factors and hopefully prevent serious injuries. Here are a few tips for creating a safe ergonomic environment in the warehouse.

One great way to spot ergonomic risks is to simply walk through the warehouse and observe workers as they perform their daily tasks. Take care to notice any awkward or strained positions, or perhaps note that certain tasks are causing employees considerable discomfort. If you discover ergonomic risks, the next step is to work to control and reduce those risks.

OSHA recommends three areas of control for ergonomic hazards: engineering controls, administrative and work practice controls, and personal protective equipment. Engineering controls refers to physical change in the working environment. This may include installing a mechanical device to help with heavy lifting or reducing the weight of a certain load to prevent overexertion. Administrative and work practice controls involves redesigning warehouse processes and procedures. Management may implement more breaks or require multiple people to lift loads over a certain weight. Finally, workers must be equipped with the proper personal protection to reduce risk. From padding to goggles and thermal gloves, administration and management need to require the appropriate protective equipment.

Finally, an extremely important aspect of ergonomic safety in the warehouse is to listen to your employees. If a worker comes to you expressing concerns about conditions or discomfort performing a certain task, do not write them off. Listen and discuss these issues with your workers, and try to find ways to solve any existing problems or to ease discomfort. The more comfortable and safe workers are, the more productive the warehouse will be.

Electrical Safety in the Warehouse

Following safety guidelines is one of the most important aspects of properly running a warehouse. OSHA has clear guidelines in place and a checklist that warehouses can use to ensure the warehouse is running as safely as possible. When managers and employees fail to comply with safety guidelines, conditions in the warehouse can become hazardous, leading to potential injury and even worse.

Electrical safety is an especially important part of the overall safety of the warehouse. The factory floor is full of electrical tools and cords that can pose a serious hazard when not dealt with safely. Here’s what you need to know about electrical safety in the warehouse.

One of the most important things is to make sure that all electronic equipment is properly grounded. Doing so will decrease the likelihood of someone being shocked. But be careful of power cords- make sure they are not blocking aisles or in workers’ path. Falls are one of the most common workplace injuries, and these cords lying around can increase the chance of a fall.

You also need to make sure equipment is in good condition. Cords should not have any exposed fraying wire. Outlets should also be in prime condition, with no exposed wiring or other damage. When it comes to electrical tools, regularly check that they are working properly, conducting preliminary checks and appropriate tests when necessary.

Be sure to keep all electrical equipment away from any type of wetness, and always make sure that power tools are completely powered down when they are cleaned or serviced. The area surrounding electrical cords and equipment should be free of any potentially hazardous materials or conductors, such as water or metal.

And as always, training is an extremely important part of warehouse safety. Electrical safety training should be incorporated into your employees’ training. This may include teaching proper use of tools, alerting workers to the possible hazards that come with working with electrical equipment, and showing them where circuit breakers and electrical panels are located. Workers should never handle electrical equipment until they have received training, as inexperienced or untrained individuals may not be aware of the risks associated with using such tools. Employees working around electrical tools should also be trained in CPR in case of emergency.

These tips are a starting point when it comes to creating a safe and hazard-free warehouse. And while electrical safety is extremely important, warehouse safety includes so much more than just that. If you want to know more about electrical safety in the warehouse, check out OSHA’s checklist.

Tips for Handling Hazardous Materials

It’s no secret that safety should be a top priority in any warehouse. But in warehouses that handle hazardous materials, safety should be an even greater concern for management as well as employees. Hazardous materials include raw materials and finished products, and can be quite dangerous when handled improperly.

These materials are capable of producing harmful effects like fire or a sudden release of pressure that could cause an explosion, or health effects, from burns to chronic effects and organ damage. Additionally, hazardous materials can have harmful effects on the environment. It is important to handle these materials with the utmost caution in order to run a safe and successful warehouse. Here are some tips for handling hazardous materials.

Firstly, every warehouse worker needs to familiarize themselves and follow federal and state regulations concerning proper handling and disposal of materials. These organizations set regulations that ensure hazardous materials are handled safely and without danger to individuals or the environment.

When handling hazardous materials, safe transportation is extremely important. Be vigilant of your surroundings and travel at safe speeds. Faster driving can increase the likelihood for forklift or machine turnover or collision, which hazardous materials could make even more dangerous.

Proper labeling and storage is also an important part of safe material handling, as different materials have different effects and require specific handling. Certain materials also need to be stored separately from others, and storage areas should be dry, cool, and well-ventilated. If you see any damaged containers, mislabeled products, or improperly stored items, report them immediately.

The real key to safe handling of hazardous materials is proper training. Training employees to know about hazardous materials, from how they can be dangerous to avoiding incidents as well as how to respond to emergencies is the surest way to operate a safe warehouse.

These tips are just the foundation for proper handling of hazardous materials. Through familiarization with federal and state regulations as well as the specifics for the materials your warehouse manages, and of course with proper training, your warehouse can safely and efficiently handle hazardous materials. For more tips, check out our 2017 Warehouse Safety Checklist.