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Improved Material Handling Safety


We had multiple minor incidents in a short period that led our safety team to conclude that our existing training programs may need to be refreshed. These incidents were at multiple locations with several different operators. They were unique enough that it was difficult to find a common cause. The environment they are operated in and the materials that are handled make this a particularly important issue to solve.

Again, although minor, they posed a concern as minor incidents can quickly become significant incidents if not addressed immediately. They can also cost time, and money as well as jeopardize our ability to meet our strict internal standards of on-time delivery for our customers, let alone our number one priority, worker safety! Forklifts can be inherently dangerous, weighing three to four times the weight of a car and are only about ½ the size. There are also unavoidable visual obstructions with the mast and overhead guards further complicating matters.


Our safety team decided to approach the problem in multiple ways. We looked at our training programs and our equipment to ensure we’re adhering to our culture of employee safety.

The training efforts were the first improvement needed. The in-house trainer took Forklift: Train the Trainer with the Safety Firm, to improve the training techniques and materials we had been using with updated videos and hands-on, interactive demonstrations. This new approach included a more integrated one with hands-on and classroom sections being more interactive. 

We also looked at our material handling equipment to assess its safety features against the safety features of newer equipment. With additional investment, Marcus Paint put safety first and replaced any forklifts and electric pallet jacks that needed to be replaced in a short period.

Finally, with the help of our human resources and quality teams, we began instituting a culture of safety by reinforcing training and rewarding good practices in fun ways. For example, there has been a regular safety rodeo in which the whole company participates. The main event is a forklift driving contest where qualified operators compete to complete an obstacle course with severe time penalties for safety violations. 


Since implementing these solutions, we have had a decrease in forklift incidents to near-zero the first year after implementation and it has held steady since. 

Although forklifts in our work environment are not simple and easy, they can be used safely with proper training and consideration of how dangerous they can be. Our employees embrace our culture of safety and the results speak for themselves. 

For more than 100 years, Marcus Paint Company has maintained a proactive and hands-on approach to every client issue and need. To learn more about how we can help your business, get in contact with a member of the Marcus Paint team today! 

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