Pre-trip inspections help reduce injury rates

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
northgate forklift
Workers are much more careful now that they know each materials handling vehicle’s threshold for bumps.

Northgate Markets, a chain of supermarkets in Southern California, is reaping the results of recently fortified safety and compliance efforts at its distribution centre in Anaheim. Working with Crown Equipment, the family-owned and operated business has achieved its lowest injury rate in 11 years and reached full compliance with forklift operator pre-shift inspection requirements.

Looking to improve inspection documentation and impact avoidance, Northgate Markets introduced Crown’s InfoLink wireless operator and fleet management system to monitor and manage every motorized vehicle in its fleet.

This includes more than 100 pieces of mobile materials handling equipment. From setting impact thresholds for each forklift, to electronically filing vehicle inspection data and impact reports, the software has helped Northgate Markets improve operator compliance, productivity and safety. In fact, since implementation, the company has seen declining workplace injury rates for the past three years.

“With InfoLink, I get pre-trip inspection reports on every piece of equipment that every individual gets on every day, period,” said Keith McCarron, director of distribution at Northgate Markets.

“In every operation I’ve ever been in, it’s really difficult to fill out a piece of paper and turn it in every day at the beginning and end of a shift. Now I get 100 percent return. No matter what, I know that piece of equipment is being operated safely.”

Northgate Markets material handling fleet varies from forklifts working in the elements outdoors to reach trucks working on smooth floors indoors. According to McCarron, the ability to adjust InfoLink’s impact thresholds to meet these various applications has been critical in minimizing collisions, while also modifying operator behaviour.

“The ability to set each individual piece of equipment at a different impact threshold is key,” said McCarron. “Now operators are more aware of that threshold in hitting a rack or bumping a pallet. Previously, they wouldn’t have given it a thought. We’ve had a steady decrease in injuries and this operator and fleet management system is a part of that program.”