Avoid the Flu Like the Plague

https://www.psndealer.com/dealersite/images/brodietoyotalift/Flu.pngEach flu season in America, between 5% and 20% of American’s contract the flu. This leads to 111 million lost productive work days, which costs American business approximately 7 billion dollars! In addition, the direct costs (doctor’s visits, medication, hospitalization) cost individuals over 4.5 billion dollars a year! Source: CDC

Whether it’s in your accounting department or forklift operators, you want to limit an outbreak at your company and contain any outbreak that does occur.

The effects of lost productivity can have a great effect on your ability to deliver products and services and provide customer service, which can lead to a negative impact on your bottom line. But there are things you can do to lower the risk at the department level and facility level. It all starts with planning and communication.

  1. Developing a plan to combat influenza? Businesses plan for all sorts of calamities and naturally occurring disasters. Does your company have a preparedness plan to prevent a flu outbreak? A tremendous amount of information is available to help you plan for and combat an outbreak of the flu a http://www.flu.gov/planning-preparedness/business/
  2. Educate your employees and take steps to encourage vaccination. One study showed a decrease in over 71% in hospitalizations when a flu vaccination was administered to adults of all ages (source). Flu vaccines not only reduce the chances of contracting the flu, but it also reduces the effects of the flu if an employee contracts it, thus enabling them to get back to full productivity sooner.
  3. Use Resources. The CDC has a great Business Tool Kit to help you educate your employees about the flu, how to prevent it and what to do if you think you are coming down with it. Visit the CDC Business Tool Kit Webapge.
  4. Proper sanitary procedures are also essential during the flu season. Placing hand sanitizers throughout your facility and encouraging if not outright requiring their use will help contain the spread of the virus, should an employee become infected. There are additional steps you can take to prevent the spread of the flu, including increasing janitorial services or assigning teams to assist in the sanitization of routinely used and shared points, such as water fountains, door knobs/handles, bathrooms, and kitchens.
  5. Send them home! If an employee starts to show the signs of influenza, it’s important to remove them from the facility as soon as possible and require that they remain home until symptoms have subsided, particularly a fever.
  6. Seek immediate attention. If you or anyone around starts to feel fatigue, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever or any of the other first signs of the flu, get to a doctor and ask about anti-viral drugs. These drugs can cut your misery in half, as well as your time off work, and productivity.

The effects of flu season can be dramatic if left unaddressed. But developing a plan to deal with the flu and spreading education before the flu spreads itself around your facility will help you maintain your business productivity during this flu season.

Our focus is frequently on productivity, and this is not always about equipment and processes. Sometimes peripheral components can have an impact on our bottom lines, and it is important to us to serve as your partner in addressing all facts of productivity. We encourage you to visit the flu.gov site to learn more.


Four Essentials of a Safe Forklift Fleet

There are plenty of simple, small things you can do to improve forklift safety in your facility. These include keeping the floor clean, installing mirrors at the ends of your aisles and prominently displaying safety posters. We have identified five best practices within companies that take forklift safety to the next level.  They are:

  1. Operator and Pedestrian Training – When we say training, we mean true training. A one-day class and a 10-minute hands-on review will not suffice if your goal is to make your forklift fleet a truly safe one. In addition to initial training and refresher training, you must be sure you re-train staff any time you introduce a different piece of equipment, if an operator is re-assigned or if your operation or facility undergoes any significant changes.  In addition to operator training, you should ensure the safety of all your employees and guests by providing training to every employee about how lift equipment operates, the inherent dangers of being around them and how to conduct themselves in a facility with this equipment.
  2. Utilize available safety equipment – Ensuring that all your lift equipment and facility is equipped with up-to-date and working safety functions will go a long way in creating awareness of the presence of lift equipment. Back-up alarms, horns, lights (front and rear combo) and strobes are the hallmarks of forklifts that are easily seen and heard. In addition, be sure to ask your forklift provider about available optional safety equipment.
  3. Planned maintenance – A robust planned maintenance program will catch small maintenance issues before they blossom into giant repair headaches. This will also dramatically reduce potential accidents, making your facility a safer place to work. Your planned maintenance program should be developed based on how your forklifts are utilized, your manufacturers recommendations and should be carried out by a professional, trained staff of forklift technicians.
  4. Regular Inspections – We recommend two types of inspections. The first, as required by OSHA, are daily inspections and are a must for any company. Your operators must be trained to perform accurate and thorough inspections of both Internal Combustion (IC) forklifts, electric forklifts, and any other type of lifting equipment you operate. Damage from previous operations can occur without the operator knowing it, and failure of major components can lead to serious injury, product loss and facility damage. In addition, putting your forklift fleet on a regular service cycle or Planned Maintenance Program, performed by lift truck professionals. This is the key to achieving maximum safety, up-time and productivity.

The benefits of a safe forklift fleet go far beyond reducing injuries. They include:

  • Lower Costs – Having safe forklift operators and providing a safe operating environment, like having safe automobile drivers and better roads, will reduce your operating costs. The frequently inspected equipment will operate within normal guidelines and minor service issues won’t blossom into giant repair headaches.
  • Improved Productivity – Safe operators in a safe environment will be more productive, since down time is reduced as a result of sound equipment and reduced operator and pedestrian accidents.
  • Reduced Insurance and Workers Compensation – A safe work environment with well-trained operators will likely result in lower insurance rates and workers’ compensation in injury-related claims.

Forklift safety is no accident. Taking these measures puts you on the path to creating a safe and productive work environment for your employees.  An investment in safety and productivity adds to your company’s long-term bottom line and benefits those who operate on and around forklifts.

Have a question about forklift safety, training, service or planned maintenance? Please contact your local Cal-Lift branch, or give us a call at 800-322-5438.