Forklifts are one of the most ubiquitous pieces of equipment across all worksites and are extremely useful for transporting large, heavy loads but this utility comes with a bevy of risks. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates there are close to 35,000 serious forklift accidents every year, 85 proving to be fatal, and with how widely they are used it’s important to be aware of and follow certain safety measures to avoid injury or worse.
1. Get Forklift Certified with Forklift Safety
Most forklift accidents can be avoided with proper training and only those that have been certified should be allowed to operate a forklift. We recommend employers evaluate an employee’s performance every three years and supplement training when necessary with our training videos and other materials.
2. Wear Proper Attire
Safety shoes, hard hats, and high-visibility should always be worn by those who operate forklifts. Additionally, loose clothing should be tucked in to prevent it from getting caught.
3. Never Carry Extra People
Anyone who isn’t certified should not be riding on the forklift, nor should anyone other than the operator be on the forklift unless a secondary seat has been properly fitted. The forklift should not be used to lift up anyone either.
4. Understand Your Forklift’s Load Capacity
Different forklift models have different load capacities and different structures, speeds, turning radiuses, and usage. It’s paramount to know the specifics for safety.
5. Perform Routine Inspection
To ensure that your forklift, or forklifts, are functioning properly they need to be inspected daily. Operational controls should be tested, the mast and overhead should be checked for damage, tire and fluid levels should be checked, as should the forks themselves, and look for any leaks.
6. Implement a Floor Marking System
Denote lanes and pathways specifically for forklifts and mark any general hazards with yellow but fire hazards with red. This will improve overall traffic flow and make pedestrians more aware of when they need to be on the lookout for forklift.
7. Make Sure All Loads are Stable and Secure
Make sure every load is balanced and properly secured prior to moving on the forklift. All loads should be tilted backwards and the forks should be kept as low as possible when traveling.
8. Have a Heightened Sense of Awareness
Many accidents can be prevented by employees just being more aware of their surroundings. Forklifts should never be operated in close proximity to other heavy machinery unless absolutely necessary and a safe operating distance should always be kept from other individuals and objects.
9. Refuel and Recharge in Designated Areas
Refueling and recharging a forklift should be done at the end of every shift or when necessary and should always be done in a designated area that is well ventilated and far from any flames.
10. Park Forklift in Designated Location
Forklifts should be parked in the same location at the end of every shift to ensure all pathways are not blocked or obstructed. The forks should be fully lowered and the parking break should be applied with the key removed from ignition.
When working with Forklift Safety, you’re getting trusted, tried-and-true training that has been helping companies avoid forklift accidents and keep their workplaces safe for over 20 years. Contact Us today and see how we can help make your workplace more safe!