Forklift Safety Tips for Forklift and Lift Truck Operators
Forklifts are relatively large machines with considerable power and several moving parts. If you are working in a warehouse or any facility that utilizes a forklift, following safety precautions is crucial. Forklift safety must be practiced by operators or drivers. They must be authorized and fully trained to use the equipment to comply with the required standards. The area that drivers are working in must be free of clutter to allow for safe forklift movement and operation. Following these rules will reduce the risk of accidents and the amount of potential injuries.
To ensure the safe operation of forklifts and lift trucks, drivers should obtain the proper training and certification. Per OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), here are some of the guidelines that forklift operators and fork truck drivers must follow.
Only qualified operators should use forklifts
Operating forklifts should only be done by those who have received the proper training. It is best if they are properly licensed and/or certified by OSHA to operate the machine they are using.
Examine all forklifts before each shift
Operators need to be sure that the machine is in perfect working condition. By doing a routine inspection of the equipment before they start working, issues can be found before it’s too late. If the machine requires maintenance or repair, the forklift should taken out of service until it is repaired. Continuing to use it without making the repairs may cause further damage costing more in the long run.
Wear appropriate clothing
Forklift drivers must wear the recommended safety work wear. This clothing set usually consists of a hard hat, high visibility jackets and safety shoes. It is also important that the clothing should fit the operator correctly. Loose clothing is discouraged as they can get caught on the equipment or machinery. In addition, hands should be clean and free of grease when operating the controls. Otherwise, it could cause an accident or injury.
Start the forklift properly
For safety purposes, forklift operators should use the steps as well as the hand grabs when getting themselves seated in the machine. Drivers need to be seated correctly before operating the forklift. The controls, steering and brake controls should be in their comfortable reach. Seat belts should be fastened and all limbs should be inside the driver’s cabin.
Be attentive to the surroundings
To ensure smooth and safe forklift operation, drivers should follow the guidelines and work-site rules. A forklift should only be driven on designated roadways. Operators must also pay close attention to their surroundings as to avoid any hazards. A slippery floor, holes, bumps, debris, etc. can cause an accident or injury. Observe all signs, especially clearance heights and the maximum allowed weight. When entering or exiting the facility, operators must watch out for the height of the load. Always maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to avoid accidents. And always allow enough room to stop the machine safely.
Operate at a safe speed
Forklift drivers must always adhere to the facility’s speed limit and ensure they don’t drive faster than recommended. Forklifts tend to be top-heavy especially when carrying a load, therefore, turning corners and changing directions must also be done slowly to avoid rolling or tipping over.
Secure all loads
Before moving the loads, take time to check them and make sure they are stable and secure. The load should also be tilted back and the forks sitting low during the transport. Doing this will ensure the stability of the load and the forklift. Never move loads that are not stable. Also, when stacking the loads, make sure that they are correctly positioned. If necessary, you may also consider using ropes or straps.
Ensure clear visibility
Operators must have clear visibility when driving a forklift to avoid accidents. They need to make sure that they can see the racking or area where they will be placing the load.
Do not overload the forklift
Forklifts have certain load capacities as to what it can safely carry. Do not exceed this load max. Overloading the truck may cause it to tip over.
Safety is always of utmost importance in all warehouse facilities. And with the help of these guidelines, you can reduce the risk of harm and danger in your warehouse.
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