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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer 2018 / Vol 41 No3


160 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK ROBERT FOOTLIK EVALUATING YOUR FORKLIFTS AND OPERATORS from page 100 Supplementing this with physical observations that and vehicle. And they maintain both situational and note unsteady gait, weaving while driving or awkward vehicle awareness at all times. maneuvers might be indicative of a number of conditions, Anyone who comes too close to racks, pallets or none of them compatible with driving a fork lift. Perhaps people is being over confident or reckless. It doesn’t it’s time to invoke that mandatory random testing clause matter which technique is prevalent, they are just plain in their employment contract. dangerous in your operation. Watch the operator’s hands Ever go to YouTube and search on “forklift on the wheel and you will have a reliable indication of accidents?” As of this writing over 256,000 videos are whether they should even be driving. If this is true while available. Narrowing the search to “forklift accidents in working, it is even more important during training. Data a warehouse” results in 25,200 suggestions. Taking it collected showing lateral forces on the truck will point to down to one requires clicking on a “Top 10 Compilation” this driver shortcoming. which includes cascading glass bottles, loading dock Data and observation also converge on productivity incidents and the ever popular Russian vodka warehouse and pallet rack entry. The right way to place a pallet in a where impacting a single pallet rack upright has a domino rack starts with the centerline of the vehicle approximately effect that takes down the entire warehouse. This leads 2/3 of the aisle away from the target position. Using a to watching for the second most dangerous creature in smooth turn the pallet front corner should pass over the the warehouse, the idiot operator. front rack beam as the load is maneuvered in a single Often identified in retrospect with the phrase, “How pass that ends with the forklift backrest parallel to the could he…?” Drivers who are just plain careless or trying rack beam. With a pantograph reach mechanism the load to do a “stunt” while their buddies record it on their cell should also be moving away from the mast as the turn phones are a clear menace to the safety of those around is being made. This will result with full extension of the them and the health of the company’s financial bottom reach just as the load is being lowered in place. line. There should be zero tolerance for any reckless Drivers who use this technique will easily outperform driving or horse play in the warehouse. This policy should their untrained or oblivious peers and the productivity also include those individuals who encourage, condone data will show it. Anytime two operators on similar or record the dangerous behavior. It might hurt short vehicles have widely differing productivity rates it’s time term, but getting these individuals out of the warehouse to watch them in operation. The differences might be due before they destroy it is the only sensible approach. to lack of training or the faster person has no place in Telematic data showing impacts or conditions way out of your facility. Observation plus data will verify reality. the norm indicate that observation and physical review is There are many ways to similarly identify problem overdue. operators if you know what you are look at. Ham fisted Motorsports on television now feature a driver’s eye drivers who consistently drop loads on pallet racks view of the racing. Ignore the track and watch the driver’s fatigue the beams and risk the loads. High speed, drag hands on the steering wheel. The real professionals are racers on straight runs to the docks menace everyone. quick, but very smooth. Even in high speed emergency Individuals may be oblivious, or blind due to vision conditions their hands will slide fast and without back problems or corrections, especially those who have and forth “sawing.” This is also true for the best forklift cataract surgery or “mono-vision” contact lenses. And operators. They don’t cut corners literally or figuratively. of course daredevils who push the equipment past all When entering or leaving an aisle they follow a consistent rational limits are candidates for employment elsewhere. line that minimizes the centripetal forces on their loads Trust the telematics…but verify. ROBERT FOOTLIK



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