5 Important Safety Tips to Consider While Operating a Forklift

A forklift is a pretty common name in offices that are concerned with supply chain management or warehousing. These gigantic industrial machines are extremely helpful in warehouses where huge quantities of goods need to be loaded and unloaded on a regular basis. 

While being a boon for industrial workers, it also comes with its set of risks. Operating a forklift is a work that needs to be done by professionals because a great deal of health hazards accompany the machine. Whether it is the weight of the machine or the occasional carelessness of the operators, reports suggest that forklifts result in almost 35,000 injuries every year

Although forklift training is mandatory for every organisation, it is important to brush up your basics just in case you haven’t renewed your training manual.

Gear up

The use of forklift requires the operator to gear up to necessary safety standards. The gear includes safety shoes, high visibility jacket, and hard-hats. While wearing your safety gear, it is also important to take care of any loose piece of clothing so that it may not get caught while the forklift is in operation. 

Timely inspections

Since a forklift can only be run by a professional operator, it is important to keep a check on the brakes, horn, steering and other parts of the forklift in order to ensure safety. Make sure that your shift supervisor has conducted all the safety checks before the forklift is deployed for operation. The leakages of oil, water or radiator, if any, must be taken care of immediately in order to avoid any hazards. The following are basic safety checks that must be performed daily or at regular intervals-

  • Tire pressure and fluid level in the machine
  • Operating controls including horn, steering wheel, brakes, and lights must be checked and tested 
  • Daily check of forks in also a must in order to avoid any mishap
  • Leakages of oil, water or radiator must also be taken care of

Mark your floor

A warehouse can be a hazardous place to work in and therefore it is important to exercise necessary safety precautions. One of the most common preventive measures is to implement a floor marking system in the warehouse in order to ensure worker safety. Colour coding can be used in order to provide necessary heads-up to the staff. For instance, areas which are more susceptible to stumbling heavy goods (areas near the racks) can be marked in yellow while the ones which are a fire emergency can be marked in red. This practice can be extremely fruitful when a new staff member is absorbed in the warehouse who has little idea about the directions in the warehouse.

No added members allowed

A warehouse is not a Disneyland obviously and the forklift is not one of the joyrides. Thus, there is no need for any added visitors who wish to see how it works. Only the staff members who have the access, competency, and in special cases security clearance should be allowed to enter the warehouse. Even the warehouse staff must never make a game out of a forklift by lifting people instead of load. 

The very mechanism of a forklift is designed to lift loads and hence there is no need to try and experiment. If at all, it is important to lift someone as part of the routine procedure, make use of the cage and secure work platform. For this purpose, you need a professional who has required skill and precision to purchase a forklift. Or better, you can directly call for a forklift hire organisation to get your hands on the best and safest forklifts in the market at reasonable prices. 

Do not speed up

Young and newly appointed staff might find the machine way too fascinating and might lose control of the equipment while trying to speed it up. This can be a major hazard not just for the staff but also for the goods. Specifically the goods which are prone to pilferage or breakage must be loaded with extreme caution and the load capacity also must be checked. 

Industrial safety of workers should be the top priority of all the organisations. With a little precaution and a great deal of precision, you can avoid almost 75% of accidents.

James Lang

James is the Editor of Small Business Sense. His background includes freelance ghostwriting about things that impact SMEs, startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs. He hasn't had a boss in more than six years, and hopes his content will help you fire yours.