forklift operator OSHA certification: topics to be discussedAs per new OSHA guideline 29 CFR 1910.178 the business owners and employers must guarantee that all forklift drivers working under the roof of the company are certified to operate the forklift truck by taking the safety training specific to the machine the operator is driving. The certification process must also compose of some sort of evaluation to test the knowledge and competence of the operators specific to the type of machine and site condition.

If you asked who are those in need of forklift training. The answer is anyone who is drives the forklift at site. A knowledgeable and authoritative trainer must give the forklift training, the trainer could be someone who was hired or contracted by the employer from an agency and he could also be someone who was appointed by superior officer to deliver the training.

Forklift training is crucial part of doing business especially if the business artery runs by forklift operators. The operation of forklifts pose many danger and risks, there are approximately 200 deaths and 40,000 being injured involving fork trucks. It’s not a laughing matter and it’s not something that should be set aside.

OSHA Requires Operator to Drive the Truck He’s Certified To

Before an operator is permitted to drive the truck for his work shift, he must be trained to operate that machine. This is what OSHA requires to all every operators. If an operator is not familiar or certified to drive a certain type of truck, do not let the operator operate it. He must take a training specific to that type of machine.

Many operators have done this. They presume that operating a truck he is not certified to can be easy. Only then when accident happens they realize the mistake thay’ve done.

Identification of Forklift Hazards

What makes forklift dangerous is because of its sheer weight. The weight of a truck ranges from 4,000 to 8,000 depending on the type of truck, this does not include the load.

The load can become unstable making the truck roll over and load can make the forks fall off when the machine is in motion that can cause tip over. You can inspect the nameplate to check the limitations of the machine and other specifics. Don’t exceed max weight load or capacity, check also the load center or center of gravity, and lift height limit.

An operator can place the heaviest cargo against back of the fork. Make sure that loads are properly stacked on top of each other and the weight of the load is evenly distributed.

An operator must sure placing of forks under the loads is far as possible. The forks must also be widest when lifting. And tilt the forks backward to become stable.

Safe Driving of the Forklift

The speed of the forklift when being driven must matched with the weight of the load and road and environment conditions. Slow down when approaching corners and sound the horn. Always be careful when there are many pedestrians and always obey traffic signs. Do not go the required speed limit.

When driving the truck, always keep the forks as low to the ground. Never drive the truck with its forks elevated. Positions the forks of the truck tilted back. When traveling with loads and the views if obstructed, travel in reverse is more safe. And Always watched the overhead obstruction.

Other Rules that must followed by Forklift Operator

  • No other passengers must ride the forklift
  • No horseplaying is allowed
  • Do not lift a person or allowed someone to ride the forks when truck is in motion or even if it’s not.
  • Forklift driving is like driving a car, always wear your seatbelts.
  • Never let someone to stay at the bottom of the forklift when its forks are raised
  • Always observed length distance
  • Do not pass at intersection. Many accidents happen at this point. When passing always observe pedestrian and other vehicles.

Driving of Forklift at Ramps and Inclines

If there’s not load being moved, drive in reverse up the incline. Drive the forklift truck forward down the incline. It is much safer to be in position like this.

On the other hand, if the truck is loaded, drive the truck forward up the incline. Drive the truck in reverse down the incline.

Safe Driving on Different Road Surfaces

Be aware of chemicals spilled on the ground like oils, wet surfaces, accumulation of moist and water, loose nuts and bolts littered in the area, or small pots and holes on the road. These can make the truck unstable when driving especially, obviously, when loaded.

Avoid sand, dirt, mud, ice gravel and other materials on the ground than can cause the machine to lose tire friction.

When the driving at wet surfaces, ensure that the load the forklift and its load weight can support by the ground.

Pre Inspection of Forklifts

Pre-inspection is necessary because you, the succeeding user of the machine, do not know what happened to it before your shift. Its condition may be different when left in by the last user.

It pre inspection is not done, it could cause breakdown when being driven, can cause damage to the machine itself, can cause damage to the load and other property in the area.

Check the brakes, horns, lights, oils, lines, electrical, forks, tires, fuel lines, and many other parts of the fork truck.

Operations of Forklifts At Busy Environment

Know the basic functions of driving controls and gauges in the panel. Always be alert of the things happening around you. Always be attentive of other people in the workplace. Never left the forklift running or unattended, turn it off when not in used.

Be sure that your route or direction of travel is safe and hazard free. When traveling indoors, always keep in mind that the speed of forklift must only at the quick walking pace.

Handling of Loads

When loading, always check first the capacity plate to determine the max weight the forklift can handle. Overloading can lead to serious accident and damage to property.

Stack the load correctly for stability of the truck when traveling. Problem arises when the load is not marked with weight, if such situation happens, contact the source of the cargo and ask the right weight before transporting if off. If heavy load is being moved, lift the forks slowly about 2 inches above the ground to check the stability of the rear wheels of the forklift. If the forklift vibrates violently, set the load back to the ground, and break the cargos into smaller loads and more manageable block of cargos.


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