It’s a busy day on the road. The highway is packed with cars busting the speed limit. You’re cruising along, trying to avoid the drivers weaving in and out of traffic. All of a sudden, brake lights flash ahead. Through the line of cars, you see a row of orange cones banking into your lane. On cue, turn signals blink to life on the vehicles in front. You click on your own and check your mirrors. There’s a gap in the lane next to you, and you turn your wheel to fill it. That’s when the warning light on your side view mirror flares. You pump the brakes and twist the wheel back into your lane as a motorcycle comes ripping up the dotted line straight out of nowhere. Heart pounding, you breathe a sigh of relief. You didn’t see him. Good thing your car did.
Life moves fast. And it’s all too easy for accidents to creep in from the blind spots. However, modern cars are safer with the addition of external sensors like proximity alerts. And now the same can be true for your forklift fleet. Keep reading to learn how the new Toyota Smart Environment Sensor can improve warehouse safety.
Accident Waiting To Happen
To the untrained eye, a busy warehouse is chaos. Forklifts run up and down narrow aisles laden with hundreds of pounds of material. Pedestrians wander. Voices, horns, and buzzers fill the air, echoing off the cavernous walls. Of course, there’s a method to this madness. But with all those moving parts, it’s easy to see the opportunity for accidents.
And accidents do happen. In 2020, the National Safety Council reported forklifts were the source of 78 deaths and 7,290 non-fatal injuries. They also noted that the average total cost of each non-fatal injury was $44,000. And that figure rose to $1,310,000 in the case of fatal injuries.
52% of those non-fatal injuries happened while the forklift was transporting material. That means the most dangerous time is when the forklift is in motion. You probably already guessed that. But that still begs the question - What can you do about it?
Eyes in the Back of Your Head
Operator vigilance will always be the first line of defense against accidents. But the best safety procedures in the world are only as good as the workers using them. And humans aren’t perfect. In the dynamic whirl of a warehouse, there is a lot for a forklift driver to take in. And the more activity, the easier it is for the operator to miss something.
Because of that, you’ve likely wished your forklift operators had eyes in the back of their heads. While that isn’t exactly possible yet, there is something close. Toyota’s new Smart Environment Sensor (SEnS) uses rear-mounted sensors to scan the warehouse. Its programming allows it to distinguish between obstacles and pedestrians. It then alerts the operator to their presence and indicates their distance from the forklift.
In effect, SEnS allows the driver to respond to hazards that they may not even be able to see. This means the operator can stay alert even when obstructions limit visibility. SEnS helps take human error out of forklift operator vigilance.
SEnS Features and Benefits
Toyota’s Smart Environment Sensor offers powerful benefits while being easy for the forklift operator to use. It includes the following features:
- Continuously scans the environment behind the forklift
- Identifies objects and pedestrians up to 32 feet (10 meters) away
- Buzzer alarm and four warning lights
- Three customizable detection zones to adapt to your specific needs
- Different audible and visual alarms for each zone
- The frequency of blinking warning lights and buzzer sounds increases as an object or pedestrian gets closer to the forklift
There’s no need to replace all your forklifts to benefit from the Smart Environment Sensor system. The SEnS system can be retrofitted onto a variety of Toyota forklifts. The following are compatible with the SEnS retrofit kit:
- 3-wheel electric forklifts
- Core electric forklifts
- Core IC cushion forklifts
- Large IC cushion forklifts
- Core IC pneumatic forklifts
- Mid IC pneumatic forklifts
- Large IC pneumatic forklifts
- Box car special forklifts
- Paper roll special forklifts
What SEnS Can Do for You
Unfortunately, human error plays a role in most warehouse accidents. However, SEnS helps reduce accidents by alerting operators to unseen objects and pedestrians. It watches your team’s back even when they can’t.
If you’re interested in improving warehouse safety, the Toyota Smart Environment Sensor system is the perfect upgrade for your forklift fleet. To learn more about the SEnS system and how it can protect your team, reach out to one of our material handling consultants online or by phone:
San Francisco Bay - Livermore (510) 473-8151
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091
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