Date: September 8, 2021
Forklifts and powered industrial trucks are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment, which are used in a wide range of applications. Now, as beneficial as they might be, forklifts do bring with them numerous hazards that endanger both the operators and other personnel at your worksite. Getting the right machine is not going to be enough. To maintain the acceptable safety levels at your worksite, you would need to follow certain tips. Let us take a quick look at some of the most important tips that you need to follow to ensure all round safety at the workplace.
Know the Common Forklift Hazards
As said before, there are a few hazards associated with forklifts. It is important that you identify what they are so that you can take suitable measures to avoid them.
- Unsecured loads. They may fall, crushing pedestrians or drivers.
- The forklift itself may tip over, due to excessive speed or imbalanced loads
- Workers might get into an accident if they stand on the forks – unsafe work ethics
- Drivers may not see people who accidently move in the way, leading to collisions and fatal accidents
- Improper or missing floor marking may lead to accidents.
Things to Test
All personnel should work together to ensure a forklift is safe to use before you start the operations. Let us take a look at some of the most important things that you should test:
- Examine the tire conditions and oil levels
- Check for water, oil, or any other fluid leaks
- Ensure forks are straight and not cracked
- Test brakes, lights, the horn, and the steering wheel
- Look for obstructions, uneven surfaces, overhead obstacles, and other potential hazards
While operating the forklift, operators should follow these tips to protect themselves and co-workers:
- Make sure the load is properly balanced and fully secure as this will prevent the forklift from tipping over
- Make sure that both forks are as far under the load as possible before you lift it
- Drive with the load as low as safely possible
- Pay attention to posted speed limits and warning signs
- Always look in the direction you’re traveling; if a load blocks the view ahead, travel in reverse
- Stay clear of areas where forklifts are prohibited or restricted
- Keep an eye out for signs, floor marking, and other warnings for pedestrians and forklifts
- Honk at intersections and in areas where pedestrians may be present
Be Careful Around Your Facility
Apart from the operators, other workers should also ensure safety. Here are a few things that should be done:
- Put up forklift safety signs, aisle markers, and forklift procedure labels properly.. You can use premade signs, custom labels, or combination of the two.
- Develop and implement a floor marking system in your facility.
- Make sure that all intersections have proper safety signs as they are important for places where pedestrians and vehicles meet.
- Use steering wheel covers and padlocks whenever the machine is not in use.
- Use effective lockout/tag out equipment to prevent forklifts from starting up inadvertently.
Develop a Visual Communication System
It is important that you have a good communication system in place, especially visual communication, as this can alert operators and pedestrians to hazards caused by forklifts. Some of the things that you can do in this regard are:
- Using “Stop” signs as well as speed limit signs, and other traffic control signage.
- Implement a wayfinding to improve the flow of traffic. Always try keep personnel away from forklift paths, and always direct forklifts along safe routes.
- Clearly point out loading docks as well as shelves for inventory, and other important places in your worksite.
- Keep signs at junctions to warn pedestrians and forklift operators to stop and be aware of potential hazards.
- Display checklists and inspection requirements at the place forklifts are stored.
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