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Safe practice when using a forklift

2 years, 1 month ago

As we touched on last month, safety is one of the most important factors to consider in any workplace regardless of the industry. When hiring a forklift, you might think your common sense is enough to maintain a safe working environment — think again. Many common safety breaches are not caused by laziness or shortcuts; often, managers sincerely try to enforce proper procedures but simply fail to make certain considerations. Here is our quick list for forklift safety. 

Only ever allow LICENSED drivers to operate the forklift 

Anytime a forklift is being operated, this is the most important thing to remember. There is a reason forklift drivers require a licence, as they are taken through each of the following steps in detail to avoid serious safety hazards. While you may think you can figure out how to use it, never drive a forklift without the proper qualifications. 

Regular inspections 

Malfunction can be a dangerous problem when using a forklift, which is why it’s important to make sure everything is working as expected.

  • When you first receive your forklift, you should always conduct a thorough inspection for full functionality.
  • From then on, it should still be checked each and every time it is used.
  • If any maintenance or repair is required, do not operate the forklift until the issue has been resolved.

Maintain high visibility Many forklift accidents occur due to poor visibility, which can apply to both the driver and any nearby workers.

  • All workers, including the driver, should be wearing high visibility clothing at all times.
  • When possible, avoid blind corners. If the driver lacks visibility, use a spotter and approach the corner at low speed. Don’t be afraid to use the horn!
  • In cases where the load is blocking part of the driver’s vision, slowly drive the forklift backwards with the help of a spotter.

Take care when loading goods and equipment

  • Don’t play around with the maximum lifting capacity. Even if you are thinking of going only slightly over the huge weight limit to save time, keep it black and white and only ever carry within recommendations.
  • Remember to consider the end of the journey when you are first picking up the load. If you will have to place or stack it in a particular way when you’re finished, it may be worth considering how you pick it up to begin with in order to make unloading as smooth as possible.

Follow proper practice when carrying and unloading

  • The forklift driver should always wear the seatbelt whenever the vehicle is in operation. Even if the trip is only a few metres, follow this rule without exception.
  • Take your time when unloading — rushing the job can lead to disaster.
  • Carry the load with forks tilted back towards the driver and as low to the ground as possible.
  • Never drive with the forks in a raised position.

Other tips

  • Place “forklift in operation” signs or similar alerts within designated forklift areas to ensure all workers are aware and alert.
  • When leaving the cab,the driver should always turn the forklift engine off, set controls to neutral, engage parking brakes and lower the forks.
  • Never operate a forklift when feeling fatigued or impaired in any other way.
  • While the forklift is being operated, keep hands and feet clear from forks and cross beam at all times.