Forklifts are incredibly useful pieces of equipment, used throughout many industries to enhance productivity. But they can also be extremely dangerous. Every year we hear about thousands of forklift accidents, usually caused by improper and unsafe operations or lack of training for the operatives.
➢ Essential safety tips to follow to ensure the safe operation of forklifts
• Operators Must Be Trained
According to stats, 70% of all accidents can be avoided with proper training. This means training is really important. Therefore, employers should allow only those operators who have been trained and licensed in accordance with OSHA standards. It’s also important that you evaluate your operator’s performance and give them safety training from time to time.
• Clothing Should be Appropriate
When working around forklifts, your operator must have access to appropriate safety gear such as a hard hat, safety shoes, and high visibility jackets. It’s also important to ensure that the workwear must be reasonably fitted as any loose clothing can get caught in the machinery. Also, avoid operating the controls of the forklift when your hands have grease on them, otherwise, it may cause an accident.
• Inspect the Equipment
Before every use, it’s important that you inspect the forklift thoroughly. It’s best it is checked daily to identify and log any problems or defects. You should never operate the forklift if it requires repair. Some of the recommended checks include:- Brakes- Steering- Mast- Tires- Radiator leaks- Fluid levels
• Maintain Good Visibility
To ensure clear visibility, the load should be short and carried low to the ground. If visibility is restricted, then operate the forklift in reverse, except when moving up ramps. Avoid driving if the weather is bad and it affects your ability to see clearly. Good visibility helps the driver to make better decisions and operate their forklift safely around pedestrians, storage racks, and machinery. Some of the best practices defined by OSHA that you can follow are:a. Look in the direction you are traveling towards.b. Use rear-view mirrors to boost visibility or you can also use our Forklift camera system for better visibility and additional safety features.c. Use headlights if working at night, outdoors, or in areas where additional lighting is needed.d. Always make eye contact with pedestrians and other workers.
• Even Distribution of Load
It’s very important to ensure that the load is evenly distributed, therefore do not lift a load with one fork. Use pallets and skids that can withstand the weight of the load. Never use pallets that are damaged, deformed, or decayed for holding any amount of load.
• Operate at a Safe Speed
A forklift is not to be driven like regular vehicles, so make sure that you never proceed past the speed limit. Drive slowly around corners to minimize the risk of tipping. If you are making a stop, do it gradually. For more reliability, you can also install a speed limiter on the forklift such as SharpEagle’s Forklift Speed Limiter system.
• Consider the Surrounding Environment
While operating a forklift you must pay attention to the worksite rules and guidelines. Be careful of all the signs placed around the worksite such as clearance heights etc. Don’t operate on bridge plates, unless you know that they can support the weight of the forklift and load.
• Avoid Carrying People
Forklifts are designed for carrying loads only. Don’t allow other workers to ride along with you unless there’s a second seat attached to the forklift. Also, avoid raising people on forklifts, it’s extremely dangerous and should never be done under any circumstances. Incorrect safety procedures can cost you lives, families, and businesses - so be careful!
• Avoid Unloading On-Ramps
Ramps are inclined platforms, unloading on such a platform would throw off the balance of the forklift. So, under no circumstances try unloading on a ramp. The forklift could tip over and crush goods or a co-worker, it could go and hit a pedestrian. You never know what serious injury it might end up causing.
• Implement Forklift Safety Solutions
Many of the hazards prevalent around forklifts can be mitigated with custom signage and implementing safety systems. You can improve your worksite by implementing a floor marking system. For your forklifts, you can get them fitted with safety solutions such as a Fork-view Camera, Forklift Speed Limiter, or Forklift Anti-collision System to avoid any mishaps.At the end of the shift, it’s important that the equipment is parked in its designated area. Before parking ensure that the forks are fully lowered, then apply the parking brake, turn off the engine, and remove the key from the ignition. Now you are all done!So, there you have it, all the safety rules that must be followed while working around forklifts! The key to keeping the business moving forward is to keep safety on top of the mind. Never let safety take a back seat, even for a moment. If you are looking to implement a Forklift safety system,
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