Forklifts are essential equipment in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, and warehousing. They are designed to move heavy loads easily, but they can also pose significant safety risks if not used correctly. In the US, forklift accidents cause around 85 fatalities and 34,900 serious injuries each year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Therefore, it is crucial to follow guidelines for forklift safety to prevent accidents and protect workers.
Our team has put together some of these in a list mentioned below:
1. Proper Training
Only trained and authorized operators should operate forklifts. Adequate training and certification are necessary before allowing anyone to operate a forklift. The training should cover the proper operation of the forklift, safe driving practices, and any relevant safety regulations. Hands-on experience is also vital to ensure familiarity with the specific type of forklift the operator will be using.
2. Pre-Shift Inspections
Before using a forklift, operators should perform a pre-shift inspection to check for damage or wear and tear that could compromise safety. This inspection should include checking the brakes, steering, lights, and tires. Any issues should be reported immediately and repaired before using the forklift.
3. Load Capacity
Forklifts have specific weight limits, and operators should know the maximum load capacity of the forklift before lifting any loads. Overloading the forklift can cause it to tip over, potentially injuring the operator or others nearby. The load should be positioned correctly on the forks and evenly distributed to ensure maximum stability.
4. Speed Limit
Operators should always follow the manufacturer’s recommended speed limit for the forklift. Speed limits should be observed, especially when turning corners or driving in areas with limited visibility. Driving too fast can increase the risk of tipping over or colliding with other objects.
5. Seat Belts
Forklift operators should always wear seat belts while operating the forklift. The seat belt helps keep the operator in the seat if the forklift tips over, reducing the risk of injury or death. Seat belts should always be properly fastened and adjusted to ensure maximum safety.
6. Pedestrian Safety
Operators should always be aware of pedestrians and other workers in the area. Pedestrians should be given the right of way, and operators should slow down and honk the horn when approaching pedestrians. Operators should also be aware of their surroundings and avoid driving in areas with limited visibility.
7. Hazardous Materials
If the forklift is used to handle hazardous materials, proper safety procedures must be followed. Operators must be trained in handling hazardous materials and must know how to dispose of them correctly.
When not in use, the forklift should be parked in a designated area. The parking brake should be engaged, and the forks should be lowered to the ground. This helps prevent the forklift from rolling away or tipping over.
Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the safe operation of the forklift. Maintenance should include inspections, cleaning, and repairs as needed. Any malfunctioning parts should be repaired or replaced immediately. Operators should also report any issues to supervisors or maintenance personnel as soon as possible.
Effective communication between forklift operators and other workers is critical to maintaining a safe work environment. Operators should use hand signals, horns, or other means of communication to alert other workers of their presence. Clear communication helps prevent accidents and ensures that everyone in the workplace is aware of potential hazards.
11. Work Environment
The work environment should be designed to allow for safe operation of forklifts. This includes providing clear signage, designated traffic lanes, and keeping the work area clean and organized.
The use of forklifts is inevitable, and thus the risks are too. We can make ourselves and others aware of certain standards just to prevent mishappenings. At our forklift training center, safety is our utmost priority. We even take full responsibility for teaching safe practices to the learners at our training school. You might want to work anywhere after you get trained; these safety measures that we have mentioned and those that we teach practically at our training center will be beneficial for you in the long run.