Forklift operators are required to be trained to learn the skills necessary to operate forklifts in a safe and productive manner. It is important that compliance with forklift safety training remain top of mind for operators. To help achieve and maintain a vibrant safety culture, managers can engage operators in several meaningful ways.
Here are a few tips on how managers can engage operators and strengthen safety culture.
1. Make Time
Demonstrate the importance of safety by making time for it on a regular basis. Remind operators to follow their training. This could take the form of simply using posters in the break room or conducting individual coaching by offering real-time feedback and working with the operator to reinforce established goals. It may be enough for a manager to confirm an operator’s safe behavior and commend him or her for taking the right approach to a task. Such actions speak volumes to all employees and can yield immediate, positive effects.
2. Celebrate Good Decisions and Performance
Most operators embrace their training; applying what they have learned to help provide a safe working environment. Showcasing the exemplary operators and the good choices they make on a daily basis regarding safety will help to reinforce expectations. Appropriately reward those whose behavior sets the example.
3. Implement Friendly Competition
Competition can be a great way to keep employees engaged and motivated. It may be used to enable operators to earn safety awards or badges for completing certain tasks or reaching milestones. For instance, once a quarter, the team or individual with the fewest number of infractions could receive a recognition for their accomplishments.
4. Set Data-Based Goals
Forklift fleet and operator management systems provide data that managers can use to set daily goals for operators. Through operator log-ins and productivity metrics around travel time, lift time and idle time, you can measure and benchmark individual operators and groups. Perhaps more valuable than the data that sets the discussion is the data that evaluates performance metrics against the goals. Notable gains can be made when operators know that supervisors and managers are paying attention.
5. Modernize Training
Today’s training is no longer limited to only watching a video in a classroom. Hands-on training is mandatory and new technologies are available that allow for more interactive and engaging training sessions. These technologies include computer-based training on Learning Management Systems (LMS) that utilize tablets, animation and other modern technologies familiar to a changing workforce. Moreover, in the near future connected forklifts will provide real-time coaching based on the operation of the vehicle.