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6 Tips for Forklift Safety

The forklift is an important piece of equipment on the worksite or warehouse. They are industrial trucks being used to lift and transport loads from one place to another across the facility. Although forklifts are useful, the risk associated with any industrial machine can’t be overlooked.

According to the Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), nearly 110,000 forklift accidents happen every year at U.S. worksites.

Therefore, forklift safety is as important as your other operations associated with it. Here are some tips on forklift safety.

Opt for Forklift Certification:

Poor training is one of the key reasons behind many forklift accidents. Therefore, it is important to have trained and certified employees behind the wheel. Besides, make sure to analyze the performance of forklifts drivers at least once every three years.

Wear Proper Gears:

Make sure the forklift drivers wear proper safety clothes before operating the vehicles. Their safety gears generally include hard hat, safety shoes, and hi-visibility jackets. The workwear should be fitted well as any loose outfit has the risk of being caught on machinery. They should not operate the forklift when having grease on hands as it might cause them to slide off which leads to an accident.

Know the Classification for Your Forklift:

According to OSHA, there are many different forklift types and classifications. Each type has its weight limit, traveling speed, turning radius, structure, and usage.

Here are some important types of them:

  • Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks (including high lift straddle trucks and platform side loaders)Electrical and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors (including sit-down riders)

  • Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks (including mast type forklifts, variable reach type forklifts, and truck trailer mounted)

  • Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks (including low lift pallet trucks and high lift straddle trucks)

  • Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Pneumatic Tires (including counterbalanced fork trucks with pneumatic tires)

  • Electric Motor Rider Trucks (including rider-type counterbalanced forklifts and sit-down, three-wheel electric trucks)

  • Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Solid/Cushion Tires (including counterbalanced fork trucks with cushion tires)

The point is here to use your forklift according to the recommended usage of their category.

Check the Forklift Daily:

Make sure to inspect the forklift before every use. It helps you identify the potential and existing problems in the machine. Any vehicle that needs repair should never be put into action. Some of the basic checks are:

  • Check brakes, lights, horn, and steering wheel

  • Look for damages in mast and overhead guard

  • Test tire and fluid levels (brake, engine, fuel, coolant, and hydraulic)

  • Look for water, oil, and radiator leaks

  • Make sure that forks are working properly. There should be no cracks or distortion.

  • Check for potential hazards.

Make Sure You Have a Good View While Operating the Forklift:

The fork should be kept to the ground to ensure clear forward visibility. If the load disturbs your visibility, get the equipment in reverse. Always make sure you get a good view of the rack when you are shifting the load over there. Here are some other tips to consider:

  • Maintain eye contact with pedestrians and co-workers.

  • Keep your eyes in the direction of travel.

  • Rear-view should be used for improved visibility.

  • Use headlights while working outdoor, at night, or in zones where lighting is essential.

Install a Floor Marking System:

The floor marking system also adds to worker safety. Yellow marks can be used for physical hazards, such as areas vulnerable to stumbling or falling, and red to mark fire hazards, fire equipment, and emergency switches. Install pathfinder signs across the site to alarm pedestrians to stay away from the forklift routes as well as to enhance the overall flow of traffic.

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