Forklifts are dangerous pieces of machinery but they don’t have to be. Check out this guide to learn how to avoid a forklift accident.
In 1972, work-related injury and illness effected 10.9 of every 100 workers. In 2017, that number had declined to only 2.8 per 100.
But still, the operation of powered industrial trucks like forklifts are among the top 10 cited Occupational Health and Safety (OHSA) violations. Considering how dangerous forklifts can be, it’s essential to minimize the potential for a forklift accident by following the right guidelines.
If you’re a forklift driver or you work in a warehouse that uses forklifts, you should be aware of forklift safety. That means knowing about training, maintenance, cleanliness, and proper loading.
Keep reading for 5 simple tips for avoiding a forklift accident in your warehouse.
- Have the Right Training
To operate a forklift, the driver needs training and licensing. Indeed, OSHA requires certification of all forklift operators before ever operating a forklift without supervision.
Only through training and certification can forklift drivers know how to safely operate these dangerous pieces of machinery. However, in a warehouse that uses forklifts on a regular basis, it’s beneficial for all employees to have forklift safety training.
- Maintain Your Forklifts
Only well-maintained forklifts should be in operation. You don’t need the best forklifts, but you do need ones that are fit for operation.
You can maintain forklifts by conducting regular inspections. In fact, OSHA guidelines state that all forklifts have to be inspected at least once every day before they’re used.
An inspection involves two parts. First, the vehicle should be visually inspected before being turned on. Second, the vehicle should be inspected with the engine running.
If a forklift seems to be in need of repair, then remove it from the floor immediately and ensure it’s fixed before it’s used again.
- Loads that Can Cause a Forklift Accident
Knowing how to load the forklift avoids unstable loads. Unstable loads can cause the forklift to tip or the load to drop, which are both very dangerous.
The first rule in loading the forklift involves the capacity of the forklift. Never exceed the weight capacity of the forklift, which can be found on the load capacity data plate.
If you must take on a bigger load, then use the load extension backrest. You should also know how to properly centre the load.
- Keep Your Warehouse Clean and Organized
The lanes in which the forklift drives should also be free of debris and obstructions. This allows the forklift driver to focus on the forward movement of the forklift instead of trying to avoid obstructions.
Pallets that are meant for the forklift should also be stacked neatly and according to weight and height measurements. This allows the forklift operator to load the vehicle in the safest way possible.
- Have Consequences for Horseplay
Forklifts are not toys and your forklift drivers need to know that. If they’re operating the forklift unsafely, and they’re doing so intentionally, this needs to be addressed immediately.
If you find a forklift operator driving irresponsibly, they should be disciplined. Not only are they putting their own safety at risk when they engage in horseplay, but they also endanger the other employees in the warehouse.
More Automotive Advice and Info
Forklifts are big, heavy, potentially dangerous pieces of equipment. Which is why their operation requires a licensed and expert professional. But avoiding a forklift accident also involves maintenance, a clean warehouse, and consequences for the mishandling of these vehicles.
Forklifts are only one of many types of automotive. For more information like this, be sure to check out our automotive and industrial blog.