Forklift are used at many workplaces like construction site, docks, ports, warehouse and in many other places where heavy loads need to be transported. Everyone knows the distinctive challenges and the need for efficient solutions to get heavy loads transported and moved in the worksite. You need forklifts to get the job done conveniently, easily and SAFELY. Being safe while working is just as important as efficiency and productivity. Forklift safety is top priority thus, we’ve prepared these vital tips.
Forklift Safety is Priority
Driving the truck is not easy, improper use of the forklift can cause serious injury and death. Have you even asked how many people are injured and died each year as a result of improper use the truck? According to BLS, there are thousands of workers either received minor or severe injuries, and hundreds died each year.
Due to this undesirable statistics, OSHA has established regulation for the safe operation, all the rules can be found at 29 CFR 1910.178.
Forklift safety must be provided by the employer. Regular evaluation must be conducted to ensure operators’ competency at least every three years. Retraining must be administered at certain circumstances as well. READ this to know when to provide refresher course:
Safety Tips and Operating Rules
We have gathered all these forklift safety rules and tips about safe operation. We have prepared this review of safe operation and safe practices driving forklifts. We categorized so that you can easily understand each aspect.
These tips might be basic, but these are a good starting point to achieve zero accident in the workplace. If I were you, you can include these to the existing program your company is implementing.
Forklift Safety Tips that Must be Followed at All Times
While you might have read many safety rules, here are some of the important rules that should be followed to ensure safe operation.
Forklift Operators Competency
1. Only trained and certified forklift operators are allowed to drive the machine.
2. The training curriculum and course content must be specific to the type of truck operating is 3. intending to use.
3. Always wear PPE when working.
When Picking Up Loads
4. Check the forklift’s capacity plate so you know the maximum load capacity. Do not exceed the maximum capacity.
5. The forklift truck must be in stationary position before lowering or raising the load.
6. When picking up loads, place the forks at the center of the pallet, doing so will distribute the weight making more stable to transport.
7. Ensure the heavy loads are balanced and stacked correctly in the pallet
8. Be sure the both forks are equally spaced apart to make the load secure.
9. Ensure the forks are fully inserted that go all the way through the pallet.
10. When load is balanced, tilt the forks slight backward to secure it for transport and slowly lift it.
11. Reverse slowly to clear the racks, check from behind for obstruction.
12. Lower the forks at correct height before transporting, never transport the load very high.
13. Do not allow coworkers to walk under or stand beneath when forks are raised.
14. Be cautious when you swing the truck, the rear end could hit something in behind.
15. Never drive the truck when it has excessive load.
16. Always observe 3-points of contact when mounting or dismounting forklift trucks.
17. Wear seat belt all the time while operating the truck.
18. Different types of trucks have different controls. Accustom yourself with control. This topic is given during the training course.
19. When starting the truck, always sit down at the operator’s position. Improper position could lead to accident. Operator could fall when the truck creates unnecessary and sudden jerking motion.
20. Do not give co-worker a ride.
21. Use the pedestrian walkways, give priority to them. They always have right-of-way.
22. Slow down during intersection, sound your horn to make people aware that you’re passing. This is more appropriate when surroundings are noisy.
23. When forklift is at motion, always be aware of the stopping distance of the truck. Sudden braking could cause accident. Remember, a forklift needs enough time and distance to stop.
24. Familiarize yourself with the ground surface and inclines at the workplace.
25. Always be careful when the surface is wet.
26. Never operate the truck when you have very limited line of sight. If sight is obscured, you can drive the forklift in reverse to transport the loads.
27. Never raise the load when traveling because center of the gravity is high, the truck could tip over.
28. When traveling in an incline, face the load uphill. This make the load more secured.
29. When direction of travel is downhill, drive the truck in reverse, this make the load more secured as well.
30. When moving without load, raise the forks 3-4 inches above the floor.
31. Follow minimum traveling speed at the workplace. It’s not a car raise, keep it slow.
32. Slow down and stop when going through corners, sound the horn so that pedestrian and other workers are aware of you.
33. There are many other vehicles operating in the workplace, stop, look and listen for the oncoming vehicles.
34. You can sound the horn when coming close to aisles.
35. Never drive the truck close to anyone, you can run over other worker’s feet.
26. Always keep your eyes in the direction of travel.
27. Stop the truck at all blind spots. You wouldn’t know if there are other oncoming vehicles.
28. Proceed with caution in blind corner.
29. Listen for the horns of other vehicles, you are not the only one operating trucks in the workplace.
30. Always look and be aware of the people working around you.
31. Don’t turn with sharp with raised and loaded forks.
32. Keep body or limbs (feet, legs, head) inside the forklift at all times when the truck is in motion.
33. Always be aware of your surroundings. Check for overhead obstructions at the workplace or route of transport.
34. Do not drive the truck close to other forklifts.
35. Check the load if it hadn’t moved during the transport. If loads were moved, it could lead to instability. Correct the load balance accordingly.
36. When load has to be put at the rack, high up, place the truck 1-2 feet in front of the rack, not very closed to the rack, and start raising the forks.
37. When load is securely in place, slowly pulls out the forks, lower the forks and check for obstacles behind when backing out.
When the Day’s Work Ends
38. Always park the forklift in designated parking area after use.
39. Apply the parking brake. Forgetting to apply the brake could make the truck by its own when the floor surface is not even.
40. Park the truck in level ground.
41. Lower the forks down to the floor.
42. Never leave the truck while it is still running.
43. Shut the forklift off and remove key.
Forklift Maintenance and Inspection
44. A checklist should be provided to check thoroughly the forklift. If issues are found, inform the shift supervisor for repair.
45. Do not operate a machine which as reported defects, this could lead to breakdown or even accident.
46. Maintenance should be done by a qualified mechanic.
47. Refueling should be done in an authorized area in a well-ventilated location. Never refuel the truck inside the warehouse or in any confined spaces.
Forklift Attachments Safety
48. Forklift attachment can decrease the truck’s load capacity and affect the center of gravity, making the forklift unstable.
49. Travel with the load at very slow speed
50. When driving, make the every turns slowly and gently.
51. Every forklift has a data plate where you can check if the attachment is listed or allowed to be attached.
52. Forklift operators must be given appropriate training regarding the use of the attachment.
53. The attachment must be matched with the forklift you are operating. Never alter or modify the attachment.
54. It should be securely attached with right locking mechanism.
55 If attachment fabrication has to be done, it should be carried out by a mechanical engineer or someone who has the technical knowledge and capacity (ANSI standard for PIT).
Getting trained and certified forklift operator is an initial step to safety. Applying safety to every aspect and facet of operation must be prioritized. These forklift safety tips must be instilled to the minds of each individual involved.