It has been a federal law since 1969 that all operators be trained and evaluated prior to operating a lift truck and there is no doubt that comprehensive lift truck safety programs have reduced accidents and injuries caused by unsafe lift trucks practices. OSHA also mandates that all lift truck operators be re-evaluated and re-certified at least once every three years, or sooner if they have had an accident.
But how do Operation Managers always know if their lift truck operators have had an accident? Of course if the accident is severe enough the manager will be informed but what about smaller accidents that can leave the rack structurally unsound and lead to a catastrophic accident in the future? Many times, because of the size and number of operators in a facility, the Operations Manager is not made aware of these because it would require the operator or their peers to report it. But what if there was a way to know every time an operator hits anything with their forklift and even better know the relative force at which they hit it? The good news is that there are solutions available in the marketplace to do just that through the use of telematics.
Telematics is a way of monitoring the movements, status and behavior of a vehicle and its operator. This information gives management complete, real-time knowledge of their fleet activities in one centralized interface, to increase safety, reduce labor costs, improve customer service, increase productivity and reduce operating expenses. Many Operation Managers have looked to this technology to provide them with more data to gain insights on their operations, in the form of devices that are mounted on each forklift truck in their fleet. These truck-mounted devices record key data events and transmit them to a database where reports can be retrieved.
Events that can be monitored by most telematic systems include:
- Operator Verification which limits operation of the truck to only those trained and approved operators identified by their employee code or badge.
- Truck Checklists which must be per-formed and approved by Operators on the truck before the truck can be put into operation.
- Impacts of the truck with rack, product or the building can be recorded and reported on. Reports can include the date, time, Operator name and force level.
- Truck and Operator Utilization based on on-board hour meters including Key switch, Dead man, Travel and Lift.
Data from these events can be arranged in reports to provide significant insights of the warehouse operation 24/7 to help identify the need for additional safety training as well as increase productivity, reduce risk and damage in the workplace, instill driver accountability and realize labor savings.
Telematics offers a unique solution that can offer better visibility to all areas of your operation and help to keep everyone safe.