Forklifts are an important piece of equipment in many warehouse and manufacturing operations. Like all heavy machinery, they present certain risks to safety when not properly cared for or operated. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that approximately 25 percent of all deaths related to forklift accidents are caused by the forklift overturning. Here are eight forklift safety tips to help you avoid damage, injury, and death on the job.
1. Inspect forklifts frequently
Safety inspections for forklifts should be done daily before every shift. This way your team is aware of any changes or potential issues. If the safety checks turn up anything unusual, report it to the shift supervisor and do not operate the forklift until it’s resolved.
2. Limit use to qualified operators
Operation of forklifts should be limited to workers who have been trained, authorized, and licensed to use.
3. Plan your path
Before operation, make sure your path is clear and there’s enough room to navigate while carrying your load. This includes looking at overhead clearances depending on the size of what you’re carrying.
4. Follow your company rules
Outside of the general rules, make sure you’re aware of your company’s specific safety procedures. These may include information about seatbelts, passengers, speed limits and the proper equipment to wear.
5. Make sure you can see
Always adjust your load to maintain optimum visibility. If it is too high, drive the forklift in reverse slowly. Ask your fellow workers for assistance when surrounded by corners and high stacks to aid in navigation.
6. Pay attention to your forklift’s capacity
One of the easiest ways to cause an accident is to overload a forklift. Know the weight restrictions and don’t try to add counterweights to carry a heavier load.
7. Monitor load stability
In addition to weight, you want to make sure your load is stable. If you pick it up without verifying, it may cause the forklift to become unbalanced. When going up ramps, make sure the load is held higher than the body of your machine, and you should go up moving forward and go down moving in reverse.
8. Watch for pedestrians
When approaching a busy pedestrian area, slow down the forklift and be on the lookout. Don’t risk any blind spots or crosswalks, including intersections, stairways, exits, doors, entrances, and corners. Always stop and sound your horn before continuing.
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