Forklifts are an integral part of many workplaces, but they also come with a certain level of risk, which is precisely why OSHA forklift safety guidelines should be regarded with respect. The vast majority of forklift accidents can be prevented with the right job site training, knowledge, and forklift safety equipment, so project managers should ensure that their sites are properly equipped.
Types of Forklift Safety Equipment
When discussing forklift safety equipment, there are essentially three different categories:
1. Equipment for the operator
2. Accessories for the forklift itself
3. Safety items for the environment or workplace
Each of these categories is important for fostering overall forklift safety, so we’ll briefly dive into some of the specific ways that they have an impact.
- Equipment for The Operator — this includes items like a forklift seat belt, helmet, and harness, which serve to keep the operator protected from any mishaps that may occur. When the driver of the forklift is safely strapped in and their head is shielded, there is less chance that they will be injured if an accident does occur.
- This type of safety equipment is important to use regardless of whether your specific forklift model is indoors or outdoors because you will always have an operator who needs to be as protected as possible.
- Equipment for The Forklift — the largest category of safety equipment, this encompasses backup alarms, blue lights, strobe lights, clear caps, seat caddies, and more. These pieces of safety equipment are often designed to help alert other workers in the area of the forklift’s movements, but they are sometimes geared toward making it easier for the operator to dedicate their full attention to the machine as well. It’s important that both the operator and other people on the job site are aware of the forklift and its surroundings.
- Some of these accessories, such as the lighting elements, are more appropriate for indoor applications since they would not be as visible outside. Still, alarms, caddies, and other measures can improve safety regardless of the venue.
- Equipment for The Environment — simple pieces of safety equipment such as safety vests and forklift blind spot cameras are a great way to ensure that a workplace is safe for forklift operations. When the operator can clearly see all of the workers and obstacles in the area, there is a much lower risk that an accident will occur due to avoidable visibility problems.
- For indoor applications where forklift operators are often required to make sharp turns, blind spot cameras help prevent potentially-dangerous collisions.
It’s easy to see that many aspects of forklift safety equipment are most effective when used in conjunction with one another.
For example, if an operator is wearing their seatbelt and helmet, but the forklift is not properly equipped with lighting and alarms, then there is no way to ensure that an accident will not occur.
In order for proper forklift safety to be implemented, you must consider all aspects of your approach (operator, machine, and environment) in equal measure when choosing equipment.
Additional Tips for Forklift Safety
Having the right equipment is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to forklift safety; you also need training to ensure that workers understand the equipment, when to use it, and grasp how to use it properly. Forklift safety equipment doesn’t matter if you don’t know its importance and don’t use it.
Forkliftsafety.com has decades of experience providing the top forklift training material kit, and we have worked closely with OSHA to develop responsible guidelines, so you can rest assured that you’re investing in quality resources when you purchase our training kit.
Forklifts are an incredibly useful tool in modern construction sites, and they don’t have to be dangerous machines if the proper equipment and training are utilized. Purchase our forklift safety training kit for your team today.