Safety | KION North America

Category Archives: Safety

The Linde Series 346, Series 1346, and Series 1347 | A New Age of Productivity

The Pursuit of Excellence

The advancement of technology for industrial trucks is ever changing and vital as companies are increasingly looking for ways to excel in efficiency.  The continued pursuit to do things better and faster is the driving force for many.  Companies must consider not only cost but must also look at the big picture of maintaining and increasing efficiency and productivity, as well as employee safety.

Increased Efficiency

The traditional lead-acid battery has allowed us to perform many tasks, and at the time it was introduced to market, allowed companies to be more efficient and effective in production.  However, the battery comes with many negative factors that make its use counterintuitive. Lithium-Ion batteries are forging a new path for companies, requiring little down time and increased proficiency in material handling of supply chains.  The battery itself, whether it be lead-acid or lithium-ion, does not stand alone as the champion for industrial trucks, but the performance difference comes from the combined system of battery and truck. The combination of the Linde truck with lithium-ion batteries compliment the many progressive features Linde trucks hold, making these batteries the new standard in industrial trucks – focusing less on which lithium-ion battery you put in the truck, but how the truck uses that energy.

Unrivaled Energy Efficiency

Companies can decide which capacity sized battery to choose based on their intensity needs.  For example, a forklift could run for a 3-shift operation with the large battery, offering extreme increases in productivity and keeping processes moving. A perfect marriage of truck and battery comes from the exclusive Linde compact drive axle, which eliminates wasteful electrical losses.  Lithium-ion batteries are different in that you can more easily adjust the electric charge capacity to suit the truck application.  Looking at the highly efficient Series 346 for example, the Linde truck would use less energy than a competitor truck while moving the same loads.  The lower energy usage allows you to select a smaller capacity battery, which can save a significant amount of money with lithium-ion technology.  Using lithium-ion batteries in conjunction with an energy-efficient Linde truck proves to be the most cost-effective method because a lower capacity battery can support the same productivity.

Decreased Downtime

Upgrading trucks from manual use to battery supported has increased timing and efficiency, but requires frequent battery changes, taking away from employee productivity. For three shift operations, companies could end up changing lead-acid batteries at least five times.   In addition, changing a battery requires its 1.5-ton weight to be removed with the aid of another forklift or an overhead crane.  For a typical lead-acid battery, regular maintenance includes replenishment of water, overnight equalization charging, and occasional exposure to battery acid.  While these activities are important, they represent downtime for the truck.  Charging a Linde Series 346, Series 1346 or Series 1347 truck, with lithium-ion battery, has never been easier and can be completed at different stopping points or near a break area for example, allowing the truck to complete a quick re-charge during scheduled employee downtime.  Another constructive use is that these trucks do not require a full charge cycle.  Although the battery may be charged completely within an hour, short charges are also encouraged. 

Forklift Capacities: How To Choose The Right Truck For The Job

With so many truck options out there, choosing the correct truck for the application can seem like a daunting task.  To enhance productivity, as well as promoting safety, selecting the appropriate truck for your operation can affect multiple layers of your supply chain.  Below we discuss tips to consider in choosing the right truck for the job.

Understanding Lift Capacity

When considering a forklift for your application, you must first look at lift capacity.  Trucks can range anywhere from 3,000 to 70,000 lbs. and offer a multitude of designs to aide in efficiency.  Each forklift has its own data plate where you can find the rated capacity.  Depending on the way the load is carried, and the weight is distributed, will change the amount of weight the forklift can safely carry. 

Knowing a trucks lift capacity does not necessarily equate to matching product in pounds. For instance, if a forklift’s data plate specifies a lift capacity of 5,000 lbs. that does not necessarily mean the truck can carry any load of 5,000 lbs. Understanding the weight, size, and position of the load will better determine the type of truck needed. 

Some questions to consider when deciding on specific truck capacity needs:

  • Where will my forklift be used (indoors or outdoors)?
  • How heavy is my typical load?
  • What is the shape of my typical load?
  • What aisle clearance do I have in the warehouse?
  • How high do my loads need to be lifted?
  • How often will my forklift be used?

Factors that affect Lift Capacity

Center of Gravity

Most counterbalanced trucks have what is called a stability triangle.  The stability triangle is a three- point suspension system that incorporates two front wheels and the center of the steer axle that supports the truck.  When the truck is at rest, the center of gravity is within the stability triangle, however, when the truck is in motion (braking, accelerating and making turns) the center of gravity shifts. It is also important to understand that an unloaded truck can tip with the counterbalance weight as well as a truck transporting a load.  According to OSHA, “the load center is the distance from the face of the forks to the load’s center of gravityMany forklifts are rated using a 24-inch load center, which means that the load’s center of gravity must be 24 inches or less from the face of the forks.”  Additional issues that can affect the center of gravity is damaged product or loads un-securely mounted, loads that are off-center, and loads that are exceeding capacity. OSHA:  Load Handling

Attachments

Warehouse operations will often add forklift attachments to aid the needs of their operation.  However, before adding any attachment, operators must consider the affect adding an attachment will have on the trucks center of gravity.  The additional weight is not the only concern, as considering the horizontal and vertical center of gravities can also affect the overall lifting.  To ensure trucks are transporting loads safely, locating the forklift attachment’s data plate will assist in determining proper lift capacity.

Tires

Choosing a forklift, based on lift capacities, involves many more factors than what the data plate states.  Each part of the truck offers their own lift capacities and can directly affect the load you intend to carry.  For example, the type of tires on the truck will help determine lift abilities.  If the truck has small or larger tires, those details will come into play on calculating load size and may require a recalculation of center of gravity. 

There are plenty of other areas to consider and address when determining the appropriate truck options for your supply chain. Calculating lift capacities and considering additional attachments, can negatively affect center of gravity, and can be overwhelming for the operator to navigate.  That’s why our dealer partners are ready to help you find the right truck for the job. Contact any of our dealer partners today at a location near you!  KION NA Dealer Network

Operating A Forklift In Unpredictable Weather – Rainy Conditions

We have entered that time of the year where many are experiencing the unpredictability of mother nature.  Whether it be extreme spikes in temperature or the sudden torrential downpour, the weather can often catch us off guard.  When operating machinery, like a forklift, it is imperative to be alert on any given day, but especially when the weather takes a turn.  Below we highlight several tips and considerations for operating a forklift in the rain.

Eliminate Distractions

Keeping focused on your equipment and your surroundings should always be a priority while operating a forklift.  That means limiting the amount of outside distractions is crucial to maneuver the truck effectively and safely.  Make sure you are wearing proper attire while working in outside conditions so that you are protected inside your workspace.  For instance, not keeping your head covered can cause a decrease in visibility and focus, creating a potential hazard. Also, strong winds can be associated with heavy rains, so wearing water and windproof jackets and pants will also aide in protection and less distractions. 

To decrease the likelihood of taking your eyes off the road, it is a good idea to leave cell phones and audio devices off the truck.  Eliminating those appliances will help keep you focused on the job at hand.  In addition, keeping food and drinks out of the workspace will prevent the urge to take your hands away from the control deck, thus keeping you in control of your forklift.

Watch your Speed

Just as we slow our speed in our car during rainy weather, the same applies for maneuvering a forklift.  Even with the latest improved features on Linde trucks, of automatic acceleration and deceleration that deliver smoother transitions with speed, wet weather can still greatly affect the driving experience.  Operating the forklift cautiously, during compromised weather, will ultimately make you, the operator, more effective and efficient over the course of the day as well as decreasing the probability of an accident.

Be Alert to Driving on Multiple Surfaces

If you are operating between multiple terrains (indoor and outdoor applications) it is extremely important to be aware of the surfaces you are driving on.  When transporting loads back and forth from the yard to the warehouse, the inclination may be to increase speed since the surface you are driving on is now dry.  However, the wheels on the forklift will still be very wet and will make abrupt stops difficult.  Maintaining consistent, slower speeds, while transitioning from outdoors to indoors, will create a more secure logistical operation.

With the Linde internal combustion trucks, you can automatically rely on the ability of being prepared to deliver solid production in any weather condition. But with the Linde outdoor electric trucks, you’re also assured a precise and agile operating experience with Linde’s robust drive technology, backed by attentive traction control and precise navigation.

Operating A Forklift In The Sun – How To Work Safely

For most in the material handling industry, when considering safety guidelines when operating a forklift, we often think of specifics of running the truck. For instance, how to safely maneuver it, ensure the operator is protected, as well as others around, and that the truck is being used properly. However, looking at the environment the truck is being used in can be just as important. Extreme hot and cold temperatures can not only affect the truck, but also the operator. Below we highlight tips on operating a forklift in the sun – a topic that may get overlooked.

Build a tolerance for working in the heat

As with anything extreme, building one’s tolerance to withstand hot temperatures while operating a truck is key. If an operator is not well versed in working in certain temperatures, he/she can put themselves at risk for injury. Heat takes a toll on the body and can often fatigue and disorient a person if exposed to the sun for too long. Operating a truck at the same time can have dire consequences. Establishing a schedule for increasing one’s time in the sun, while maneuvering a truck, will better protect the operator.

Guard yourself against the sun

If you must work in the sun, it is extremely important to guard yourself against any additional negative effects of the sun’s rays. Wearing clothing that covers most of your body will help protect your skin and decrease the likelihood of burns. Also, shielding your face with a hat will aid in protecting your face as well as decreasing glares from the sun to help prevent vision impairment. Above all else, make sure you are applying sunscreen before going out in the sun and reapply later in the day if you notice you have perspired a lot.

Hydrate

As obvious as it may sound, making sure you stay hydrated while working in the sun is imperative. When working in high heat temperatures, the body is continuously perspiring, which is the body’s automatic response to cooling down the body. However, that water loss needs to be replenished. Make sure to hydrate with water and not caffeine, even if you feel like you need a pick me up. Caffeine can lead to additional body fluid loss. Taking regular breaks to re-hydrate and refresh will be extremely beneficial to the forklift operator.

Take scheduled breaks

Make sure you are maximizing all scheduled breaks by going inside during those times. Taking a break from the truck, while still outside does not allow your body to cool down and take the respite it needs. To continue working in the sun, your body needs to have frequent opportunities to recharge. During this time, monitor yourself for signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. There are several signs and symptoms to be aware of according to WebMD.

Some symptoms of heat exhaustion

  •  Fatigues
  •  Nausea
  •  Headache
  •  Excessive thirst
  •  Muscle aches and cramps
  •  Weakness
  • Confusion or anxiety

Some symptoms of heatstroke

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dry skin
  • Profound sweating

For more signs and symptoms Click Here

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.