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How to Stop Overconfident Forklift Operators

Are your Forklift Operators Overconfident?

Are your operators overly comfortable and complacent in their daily work? Do they often perform repetitive tasks they’ve mastered over the years? While experience is valuable, it can lead to overconfidence and complacency, increasing the risk of accidents. To mitigate these risks, regular monitoring is crucial in ensuring everyone maintains a safe working environment. Involving forklift operators in health and safety has a positive impact on the risk of incidents as well.

Let’s explore common habits of overconfident forklift operators and how consistent monitoring helps prioritise safety for all.

Overconfidence and complacency

Forklift operators engage in repetitive tasks as part of their daily responsibilities. However, this repetitive nature can lead to complacency and a false sense of comfort regarding the associated risks. When operators feel overly familiar with their job, they tend to develop unsafe habits, which then become the norm. If these practices persist without consequences, the operators may lose sight of the potential severity of accidents. It is crucial to provide ongoing reinforcement of best practices and emphasise the risks of serious injuries, legal repercussions, substantial fines and costly damages that can arise from non-compliance. To ensure safety, regular forklift training should be conducted on-site.

How often should forklift training be refreshed?

overconfident forklift operators | 4KS Forklift Training

In order to curb bad habits of overconfident forklift operators, it is generally recommended to conduct assessments at least once a year or more frequently if needed. Regular assessments can help identify any developing bad habits or unsafe practices and allow for timely corrective actions to be taken. Additionally, ongoing monitoring and periodic refresher training sessions for forklift operators can also contribute to maintaining a high level of safety awareness.

What are the responsibilities of managers who supervise lift truck operations?

According to PUWER regulations, it is required for all supervisors overseeing lift truck operations to receive proper training. RTITB Managing and Supervising MHE Operations eLearning is an ideal solution for individuals aspiring to managerial or supervisory roles within a forklift or MHE environment. It is also beneficial for those already in such positions, as it enhances their understanding of their responsibilities.

Regardless of the tasks performed or the experience of forklift operators, it is the duty of managers to consistently monitor their performance and prioritise safety on-site. By ensuring operators remain aware of the risks they face, managers play a crucial role in accident prevention, regardless of whether the task is being performed for the first or hundredth time.

overconfident forklift operators | 4KS Forklift Training

Steps to reduce overconfident forklift operators

As a manager in a material handling equipment (MHE) environment, your role is to ensure that the forklift operators are working efficiently and effectively. Here are some strategies you can employ to prevent complacency:

  1. Set clear expectations on productivity, quality, and safety.
  2. Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for each operator and provide regular feedback.
  3. Monitor performance through observation, KPI tracking, or technology like MHE telematics.
  4. Provide comprehensive training on equipment, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and safety.
  5. Empower operators to contribute and involve them in decision-making.
  6. Recognise and reward exceptional performance.
  7. Offer feedback, coaching, and performance improvement plans.
  8. Promptly address any slacking or performance issues with empathy and support.

Support for overconfident forklift operators

Remember that it is essential to approach the issue of slacking and complacency with empathy and fairness. Seek to understand the underlying causes and provide support and guidance to help overconfident forklift operators improve their performance rather than resorting to punitive measures as a first response.

For more information about identifying and reducing key risks on site, get in touch with our team of experts at 4KS Forklift Training. Whether you have questions, need guidance, or require assistance with risk management strategies, we are here to help. We value your safety and look forward to assisting you in creating a risk-aware workplace.

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