For all its benefits, forklifts bring with them numerous hazards that endanger both drivers and pedestrians. Although they move heavy loads and increase work efficiency, forklifts may cause serious injuries when used unsafely.
With that said, there are 5 forklift safety tips that everybody should keep in mind.
1. Inspect Equipment Daily
Forklifts need to be thoroughly inspected before daily use. Everyday checking with the shift supervisor is required in order to determine and log any defects or problems. Also, any equipment that needs repair should never be operated.
Here are some of the recommended checks you need to include:
- Look for potential hazards.
- Test operating controls such as lights, brakes, steering wheel, and horn.
- Examine tires and fluid levels including brake, hydraulic, coolant, and fuel.
- Check the overhead guard and mast for damage.
- Ensure that the forks are in good condition. Straight and has no distortions, cracks.
- Check for oil, water, or radiator leaks
2. Forklifts and Alcohol or Drugs Don’t Mix
Running or working with forklifts is quite dangerous. It requires extreme alertness and focus. Thus, any use of alcohol or drugs (opioid painkillers, sedatives, or antihistamines that cause drowsiness, or worse illegal drugs that alters your judgment) should be avoided before operating a forklift.
Even muscle relaxants that affect your physical body should be avoided since they can affect your reflex time.
3. Mindful Operation
There are a lot of things you need to follow while you’re behind wheels in order to prevent accidents. For one, you need to make sure that the load is balanced and is fully secure in order to prevent the forklift from tipping over.
Both forks should be as far under the load as possible before lifting. Also, drivers should drive as low as safely as possible. Always look in the direction you are traveling. In case the load blocks your view, drive in reverse.
Make sure to use horns at intersections as well as areas where pedestrians may be present and walking by.
4. Maintain Eye Contact
Making eye contact and nodding are not just friendly gestures. These can prevent an accident. As a pedestrian, you need to make sure to have eye contact with the driver before passing by. Make sure that the driver acknowledges you in some way before moving.
Remember all the things that can obstruct someone’s vision, so do not assume that you will be seen.
5. Keep an Eye Out Around The Facility
Even if you are not operating the forklift, it is important that you take safety steps to keep other workers safe.
- Use proper tagout/lockout equipment in order to prevent work lifts from inadvertently starting up.
- Post forklift safety signs, forklift procedure labels, and aisle markers, using custom labels, premade signs, or a combination of the two.
- Ensure safety signs are at all intersections where vehicles and pedestrians intersect.
- Implement a floor marking system in your facilities.
- Use steering wheel padlocks and covers when necessary.
Ideally, operators and pedestrians should be vigilant all the time in order to prevent any accidents and injuries when operating a forklift. And with the above tips, you can make your workplace a lot safer and efficient.