Your Guide to Forklift Safety
Forklift trucks have made the transport and lifting of large and heavy merchandise, building materials, and other objects significantly less time consuming and physically demanding. It has also made these tasks safer, provided that operators have completed required and recommended training programs and the proper precautions are employed. The forklift safety basics that every potential forklift operator should be aware of include:
The potential for making mistakes when operating a forklift without the proper training is high, and forklift accidents can be costly and dangerous, even fatal. Every year, workers are killed or severely injured while operating forklifts, and a disproportionate number of these accidents involve individuals who are not properly trained. Sadly, most of these accidents could have been prevented had the operators involved been on the lookout for hazards that they were not even aware of due to their lack of training.
Operate Only When Alert
Do not operate a forklift if you are feeling tired or lethargic or taking a medication that can cause drowsiness. Forklift operation requires one’s full concentration. If an operator confides that they are physically or mentally tired or you suspect that their judgment may be impaired for any reason, do not allow that employee to operate a forklift.
A pre-operation inspection should be carried out at the beginning of every shift. All controls should be tested, and a facility manager should be made aware of any issues that are detected. Equipment should be locked and tagged out of service if a problem is detected.
Since forklifts are made to carry heavy loads, it is important that the materials it is transporting are arranged with optimal balance and stability in mind to avoid forklift tip-overs or damaged product. You must read the forklifts data plate and understand the forklifts lifting capacity before handling any loads.
Drive/Handle with Care
Forklifts are not racing cars, and they should not be operated as if they are. Site speed limits should always be observed and turn taken slowly. Avoid any bumps or obstructions you spot during operation and slow to a stop if visibility becomes murky. Do not resume operation until visibility is clear once again.