The forklift truck is one of the most widely-used tools in today’s society, spanning multiple industries. From warehouses to construction and every industry in between, forklifts and mobile plant can conquer heavy-lifting with ease. This ease, however, also presents many dangers. Fortunately, the dangers can be balanced through proper use, training, and safety. The following are some free or low-cost ways you can ensure forklift safety in your own industry.
Offer Forklift Safety Training
The first line of safety in forklift operation is to ensure your operators have proper training. Check with your local authorities about the minimum education required for forklift operation. If your business is not equipped to provide the necessary education, there are many local forklift courses available to which the authorities may direct you. The important thing to remember is that forklifts have the potential to be very dangerous to operators and surrounding employees if your operators are not trained properly, so ensuring the proper safety protocols are followed through extensive training will benefit your company’s safety numbers and your employee’s productivity.
Present General Forklift Safety to All Employees
Even if some of your employees will not be operating forklifts, all employees should be aware of general forklift safety if they are to work around the machines. Offering employees the following tips will encourage safety in the areas surrounding forklift operation:
- Never jump on the forklift arms, and never ride on the arms or a load.
- Never ride on any other part of the forklift unless the lift is specifically equipped for a rider.
- If the forklift is rider-equipped and you are riding, always wear your seatbelt. If the forklift happens to tip, never jump from the tipping forklift. Instead, lean away from the direction you are falling and stay in your seat.
- Never stand under the arms or under a load. Hydraulics can give out at any time.
- Stay away from the specified forklift path. If you must cross the path, use cross-paths if available, and always look both ways before crossing.
Supervise Operators for Safety
Ensuring your operators are following forklift safety is also important to maintaining high safety records. Supervisors should be aware of necessary safety protocols and should watch for any safety mistakes, such as the following:
- Overloading the forklift
- Improper load placement and/or instability
- Turning too quickly
- Driving too fast overall and/or driving too fast on slippery surfaces
- Travelling blindly/allowing the load to block the driver’s view
- Tailgating another forklift or passing another forklift in a no-passing zone
- Participating in horseplay or other unsafe activities
Supervisors who watch for and correct unsafe acts will be your greatest asset in maintaining or improving your safety numbers.
Overall, forklift safety is possible with the correct training and supervision. Because your workplace and employee safety is the most important part of your business, informing yourself, your supervisors, your forklift operators and your general employees about forklift safety will improve your safety and your employee productivity numbers.
Forklift safety. Think safety. Work safely.