Forklifts that run on liquid chemicals such as gasoline or diesel are very convenient to refuel, however, because these liquids are highly flammable, the operator is at risk of fire and explosion when refilling the tanks. At this procedure, safety should be the utmost concern. Refueling should not be done in a hurry. Precautionary actions should be followed.
- Refueling should ONLY be performed at the designated location provided by the company. A “No Smoking” sign should be posted right at the location. It should be posted near the area cautioning workers that flammable liquids are present in the area.
- Class B fire extinguishers should be installed near the refueling area. Proper maintenance of the fire extinguisher must also be performed to ensure that it is in working condition when needed in the event of an accident.
- Forklift operator should be properly trained not only on the operational aspect but also in the safety aspect. Poor training can produce bad operator. Always remember, OSHA guideline instruct that coverage of forklift training must be equipment and workplace specific.
- If the company can allocate a designated person assigned for refueling, then it is much appropriate so.
- Each type of truck has its own safety operational procedure that includes safe refueling. Always follow what the manufacturer recommends, never do the shortcut.
- DO NOT smoke, use cellular phones while refueling. This safety measure is the same as refueling your car at the gas station.
- When refueling, turn off the forklift first with its forks in lowered position. Gasoline and diesel vapors are highly flammable, we all heard that before, a small spark from the electrical of the forklift can ignite the vapors and cause fire.
- Set the hand brake when the forklift is parked before refueling. This will make sure that the truck is in stationary position and will not move.
- It is a good idea to wear proper PPEs like gloves and eye protection. Wear them at all times during this procedure. Gloves keep fuel out of your hands and protection to avoid spillage coming into your eyes.
- When finish refueling, clean the overspill with a cloth.
Refueling a forklift is a routine operation at the workplace. You should not forget that the refueling is a hazardous. With responsible and safety conscious manner can definitely prevent accident from happening.