How To Reduce Worker Fatigue for Safe Forklift Operation

Driver fatigue can have a significantly negative impact on forklift operation. It can slow reaction time and reduce the ability to focus attention on the task at hand. Approximately 20,000 workers are seriously injured and 100 are killed in forklift-related accidents every year, and fatigue can be a factor that contributes to it.

While operator fatigue can result from factors unrelated to work, the physically demanding nature of the job can be a cause, as well as long working hours. Here are some ways you can reduce the risk of fatigue for forklift operators in your facility.

Include Preventing Fatigue in Training for Forklift Operation

Operators should always receive thorough training before being allowed to drive a forklift. This training should provide information on fatigue:

  • Understanding the causes
  • Recognizing the signs
  • Anticipating the effects, not only on work but on the operators' personal lives

However, it is not enough to teach workers how to understand and recognize fatigue. You should also teach them strategies on how they can avoid it through stress management, exercise, diet, and, most importantly, sleeping habits that allow them to receive adequate rest before going to work.

Create Work Schedules That Allow Operators To Receive Adequate Rest

It is not enough to instruct workers on the importance of adequate sleep if their schedules do not allow them to receive it. In addition to arranging schedules so that each operator has time to receive the recommended seven or more hours of sleep per night, schedule frequent rest breaks per shift for each operator.

Help Workers Manage Factors That May Contribute to Fatigue

Providing workable schedules for forklift operation may require examining staffing issues that contribute directly or indirectly to fatigue, such as scheduled or unscheduled absences, workload, and understaffing. Also, anxiety or stress associated with work can affect workers' ability to sleep and decrease the quality of rest that they receive. Providing access to an employee assistance program may help operators to resolve these issues to improve both the quantity and quality of sleep that they receive.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Finding out how much risk fatigue poses in your facility can help you to create a plan for mitigating it. You can then create a special management plan for fatigue that addresses the risk specifically.

Make Sure Forklift Operation Takes Place in a Stimulating Environment

While there is no substitute for adequate rest, you can modify the environment in which work takes place to increase alertness. Changes to the physical surroundings, lighting, and temperature can all help you create an environment that is more stimulating.

Control Other Factors That May Contribute to Forklift Accidents

Worker fatigue is only one of many risks that may contribute to a forklift accident. The more of these risks you can mitigate, the less likely it is that an accident will occur. For example, a well-maintained forklift is more likely to operate smoothly and less likely to get into an accident. Maintenance for smooth forklift operation is easier to carry out when you own your own rather than renting. Learn more about the different types of new and used forklifts available for sale from Industrial Forklift Truck.

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