“When you are doing your training, you have to make sure that it is extensive,” he points out. “The training has to center on driving safely, understanding the brakes and how long it takes to stop,” says Kaletsky. “In a warehouse, there are blind spots and greater chances of workers just appearing than on an open road. The horn has to be working. They have to make sure the tires are right as well, making sure the emergency and regular brakes work right. The steering has to be effective. They need to understand about the capacity of the fork truck.
“And here is an idea: whatever the maximum rated capacity is—the weight of the load they can lift—what that maximum means is everything else with that fork truck that could affect capacity is right, including counter-weight, the tires, the forks, the fork angle, how the loads are on the forks.
“Just like with a crane, when you lift those forks, you are changing the capacity. If things are further out on the forks, you are changing it as well. For example, if you were to hold an object down at your knee level, you can hold it for x amount of time. As you raise your arm outward though, the amount of time you can hold it will drastically reduce,” he says.
That is the sort of real-life detail and focus on the fundamentals that will result in a first-rate training program. Assuming one is developed or purchased, and then staged, what is next?
“The machines themselves are better designed from an ergonomic perspective and easier to operate,” concludes Supervalu’s Koskan. “But the responsibilities of operators are getting more complex, especially in terms of computer interfaces with the inventory they are transporting.”
The bottom line is this: the need for first-rate safety training will continue, and even increase in importance.