Factors Driving the Fork Truck Free North American Movement – Hands Free

April 29, 2017 0 Comments Fork Truck Free Info 578 Views

 

Texting on a cell phone while driving on a public road is prohibited by law in nearly all states. A workplace environment is no less hazardous than a public road. It would be good practice to ban the use of a hand-held phone or similar device while operating a fork lift truck.

It is generally considered that the use of a hands-free mobile phone can also be a distraction. There may be an operational reason for wishing to use a hands-free mobile phone, but this is not recommended and such use should certainly be subject to risk assessment. There are special communication systems available to assist with activities such as order picking and stock taking. Mobile phones should not be used for these types of activity.

The use of non-integrated working platforms on fork lift trucks requires suitable communication between the operator of the fork lift truck and the persons on the working platform. The method of communication to be used will form part of the risk assessment, but it may be that the use of hands-free mobile phones in these circumstances is considered preferable to shouting, or the use of hand signals.

The bottom-line is none of these solutions is acceptable. In a world where everyone on the plant floor is checking their phones, apps, and even employee engagement solutions, none justifies endangering the fork truck driver, other employees, or property.

More than a quarter of all car crashes in America are likely caused by cell phone use, a study by the Nation Safety Council has shown. The council estimates that talking on the phone led to 1.2 million wrecks last year, while texting was involved in at least 341,000 more.

These data parallel the accidents on fork trucks, yet few admit use of cell phones or hands-free devices while operating the fork trucks. Aislecop (part of Cisco-Eagle) advises that companies have clear rules regarding personal communication devices, food, and drink when it comes to forklift safety adding that driver distractions lead to thousands of serious forklift accidents every year, sometimes even resulting in fatalities.

Some manufacturers are using safety equipment like guard rail, traffic motion sensor systems and traffic lights in the work place. Slow to a stop when pedestrian safety gates are in operation.

Forklift Aisle Accidents

Pedestrians and drivers in warehouse are using cell phones and other personal devices which contribute to driver distraction. Drivers are more focused on the personal device than on driving. Answering phones, texting messages, tuning to favorite songs all distract the primary function: safely operating a piece of dangerous equipment.

Having food and beverages on the forklift leads drivers to a casual operating attitude as rationalizing a quick sip of soda that will not cause harm. Reaction time is reduced and a simple distraction has just cost someone their life.

All the rules, training, warnings, signage, and safety equipment, including the emphatic instruction, never take anything on the forklift that might distract from being alert and aware, do not work.

The only solution is a true Fork Truck Free (FTF) environment in which Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), equipped with sensors to stop immediately to avoid accidents, and pulling industrial carts are implemented. Getting the driver out of the fork truck seat is the only “hands free” environment that matters.

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