A forklift is a powered industrial truck that lifts and carries materials over short distances. They can be used in various workplaces such as industries, warehouses, companies, etc. Forklifts are used for loading, unloading, transporting, stacking, and picking.
There are different classes of forklifts, namely:
- Diesel-powered forklift,
- LPG/petrol-powered forklift
- Tow tractors
- Pallet jack
- Electric powered forklift
Tips for safe forklift operation
Forklifts are mainly are used indoors, and therefore they can hazardous if not well handled or operated. To ensure safety in the workplace, there are rules for forklift operation.
1. Qualification of the operator
Operating a forklift requires someone fully equipped with all necessary skills for a forklift operator. He should also have undergone forklift safety training. With these skills, you will be assured of the operator’s competency. He should also have an operation certificate or license from the relevant body, i.e. the Ministry of labour.
OSHA regulations require that anyone who operates a Powered Industrial Truck (Forklift / Stand Up Forklift) MUST obtain the proper Forklift / Stand Up Forklift Training and Forklift Certification. This requirement is due to the many fatalities happening daily here in the USA and roughly 200-250 fatalities yearly due to Forklift-related accidents.
The operator should wear appropriate clothes when operating a forklift. This should be protective wear such as a demanding cat, safety boots, a dust coat, or an overall and hi-visibility jacket. These clothing should be fitting, and shoelaces tightened to avoid accidents, e.g. a cloth being caught on machinery.
3. Examining the equipment properly before use
The operator should do a thorough check-up of the forklift before operation. You should check any faults in steering, brakes, controls, tires, and warning devices. In case it is noted, it should be fixed immediately.
4. Maintain a safe speed
An operator with forklift safety training knows that the speed limit is essential. Since forklifts operate indoors, a safe speed should always be maintained. The operator should never exceed the recommended speed limit, and Stoping should be gradual. Emergency breaks can make the carried material fall off due to inertia.
5. Avoid overloading
A forklift should not carry excess people or load and should only carry the appropriate capacity, and Overloading can cause the forklift to tip over.
6. Ensure the load is stable and secure
The safest way to place a load is tilting it back with the forks sitting low while transporting. This increases the stability of the forklift. Bags should be carefully checked before moving, and roping, binding or any other securing measures should do if necessary.
7. Ensure you have a clear visibility
Operators should always make sure he can see clearly, and this helps them to detect anything or anyone in the forklift’s path. He should also see the load. If the visibility is unclear, you should stop the forklift or look for someone to assist you.
8. Educating all the workers
All workers should undergo forklift safety training. This will help the workers to understand the requirement of a safe forklift operation, such as clearing the way a forklift is passing. They can identify when the safety rules are violated and report to the necessary authority.
9. Avoid the hazardous places
The operator should avoid the place that may cause an accident. Such places are bridge plates, congested areas, etc. If you have to operate from such an area, the operator should be very keen and observe all signs especially permitted floor loadings and clearance heights.
The safety of workers is always a priority in all workplaces. Many accidents result from negligence due to poor training, but with these tips, you can ensure safety during a forklift operation.