Forklifts are a necessary and efficient piece of equipment in most warehouses. Their ability to move mass amounts of materials around quickly and with relative ease makes them a highly-valued machine. However, 1 in 6 workplace fatalities involves an improperly used forklift making them one of the most dangerous tools in the workplace. With workplace health and safely being a top priority amongst employers, it’s important that all workers be properly trained on forklift best practices. Here are 5 tips on how to safely operate a forklift:
- Ensure proper training before getting behind the wheel This includes being familiar with operating controls (hydraulics, horn, direction controls, brakes, etc.) and basic handling such as using safe speeds and avoiding quick stops. Knowing how the machine works and rides is imperative in getting an operator comfortable with effectively using a forklift. Never assume an employee knows how to use one before allowing them access.
- Look around Are their people? Other equipment? How close are you to aisles or walls? Are there any blind spots? Knowing how much room you have to work with as well as being completely aware of your surroundings can help avoid crashes and accidents. Remember: pedestrians always have the right of way.
- Lift chains and overhead guards for damage and wear
- Battery for damage and fuel levels
- Forks for cracks and bends
- Tires for accurate pressure and excessive wear
- Fluids to ensure they are their proper levels
- Use excessive speeds
- Take sharp turns when loaded
- Give “lifts” to anyone
- Allow anyone to stand underneath the forks,
- Allow anyone to operate that isn’t qualified
- Notify your direct supervisor immediately of any accidents Should an accident happen, no matter how minor, be sure to notify your supervisor immediately so he or she can properly handle the situation and begin filling out an accident report while the incident is still fresh in your mind.
Knowing how to properly work a forklift is the first step in avoiding any workplace accidents. Health and safety regulations are put in place to avoid injuries and ensure that both workers and bystanders remain out of harm’s way. We take safety at our warehouses very seriously and invite you to give us a call regarding any questions or comments you may have regarding how to properly operate a forklift.