Operating a forklift safely requires training, certification, and many other factors. By not following certain guidelines, you can put you or others around you at risk of serious injury. We are going to review 16 simple things you can remember to help operate a forklift safely.
Get Trained & Certified
The first step in operating a forklift safely is making sure that you get the proper training and certification. Operating a forklift requires a forklift certification and in order to get your certification, you are going to need the proper training. Even if you have previously trained at a different job site, it is always a good idea to get trained for how your new site operates. If you need to get certified, you can find a class today.
Inspect Forklift Before Operating
Before you hop on your forklift, you are going to want to make sure you know what you are about to be operating. Take this time to inspect and overlook your forklift to check for anything that may be of concern. This can include leaks, broken components, or any other defect that can hinder the proper use of the forklift.
Stay Alert & Attentive When Operating Forklift
A forklift, especially one with a load on it, can be a very dangerous machine if not properly operated. When operating a forklift, you want to make sure to stay alert and attentive to objects and people around you to ensure a safe workplace. Use your horn to alert those around you, especially when coming around a corner.
Do Not Leave An Operating Forklift Unattended
When it comes time for you to step off of your forklift, no matter how long, you do not want to leave an operating forklift unattended. An unattended forklift can become very dangerous, very quickly, and making sure that you turn off your forklift every time you get out of it is crucial to work site safety.
Know The Lifting Capacities Of Your Forklift
Forklifts are made to lift things and transport them with ease. Each forklift is going to have a weight limit and knowing this limit is going to keep you and your fellow coworkers safe from malfunctions due to overweight loads. An overweight load can cause your forks to fail or your forklift to tip, resulting in serious damage or injury.
Follow The Outlined Roadways
In most workspaces that use forklifts, you are going to see marked roadways for the forklift to adhere to. This is usually put into place as a regulation from OSHA to keep forklift drivers from running into objects or people. Following these roadways is very important not only in safety, but the overall efficiency of your job site.
Make Yourself Aware Of Worksite Rules & Regulations
While most work sites have to comply with certain rules and regulations outlined by OSHA, many have their own set of rules to further ensure the safety of their employees. Become very familiar with these rules to make sure that you completely understand everything that you need to know before operating your forklift in a new environment.
Keep Your Hands & Feet In The Designated Areas
The number one reason for safety is to protect you and others from injury. When operating a forklift, you will notice that there are many different moving parts and not paying attention to them can cause severe bodily injury. As a rule of thumb, make sure that you keep your hands and feet in the designated area, away from any moving components.
Use Your Parking Brake
When parking your forklift, whether it be for a quick break or for charging overnight, you will want to make sure that you apply the emergency brake. The emergency brake ensures that in the case of a malfunction, the forklift will still stay put when no one is operating it.
Stay In Your Seat
Throughout the duration of operating the forklift, you must stay in your seat and refrain from getting out, moving around, or allowing your hands and feet to leave the designated areas. You cannot be in complete control of your forklift unless you are fully seated.
While most job sites have a strict dress code to ensure the safety of their workers, it is especially important for forklift drivers. Loose articles of clothing can be caught in the numerous moving parts which can result in serious bodily injury.
Do Not Operate A Forklift With Wet Or Greasy Shoes Or Hands
Since operating a forklift requires precise hand, eye, and foot coordination, you will want to make sure your hands are free from any grease or liquids. This will ensure that your handles and pedals are operated safely and steering clear of any slippage.
Wear Your Seat Belt
Just like operating any other type of motor vehicle, you are going to want to wear your seat belt at all times when operating a forklift. Accidents can happen when on a forklift and ensuring that you are secured to the seat will keep you in full control of your forklift.
Drive As Smoothly As Possible
Driving a forklift requires skill and patience to learn how to properly operate. You will want to make sure that you drive as smoothly as possible to ensure that your load stays secure at all times.
Do Not Stand Or Walk Under Forks
The forks of a forklift are hydraulically operated, meaning that they have a large amount of force that can cause serious injury or death to those who are walking or standing under them when they are lowered. Make sure that no one stands or walks under your forks for any reason.
Secure Your Load
When loading a pallet or skid onto your forks, you will want to make sure that it is properly balanced and if it is an irregular shaped product, you may need to secure it to the forks for safer transport.
Avoid Damaged Pallets
When loading up a pallet or skid, you will want to make sure that they are not damaged or deteriorating. A pallet that is damaged can cause a major safety hazard in the event that it breaks with a heavy load on it.