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Like cars and trucks, forklifts are fuel-powered vehicles. But unlike other vehicle types, forklifts frequently operate indoors. So even the smallest forklift-related fire can quickly become a big problem for any business.
Fortunately, preventing forklift fires is easy … if you use care and caution when working with industrial trucks and take these five safety measures to keep your vehicles, your employees, and your business safe.
Keep Up with Routine Maintenance
The closer the attention you pay to the condition of your forklift, the more likely you will be to spot the conditions that could lead to a forklift fire. These include things like leaky propane connectors, build up of grease or pooling oil on the vehicle, or unsafe electrical connections.
Create a maintenance schedule for forklift then stick to it. Odds are your forklift’s manufacturer already has one. Look in your owner’s manual for your recommended maintenance schedule.
Increase Fire Safety Awareness
Forklift operators are the first line of defence against forklift-related fires. Provide training to your drivers on how to avoid the conditions that could lead to a forklift fire and what to do in the event one happens.
Keeping drivers alert and knowledgeable can make the difference between safety and disaster.
Clean Forklifts Regularly
One of the most common sources of forklift fire ignition is a buildup of flammable materials on the vehicle itself. These can include gasoline, oils, or ignitable materials that were accidentally spilt on the forklift during transport.
Cleaning forklift regularly ensures that the risk of flammable materials ignition is minimized, even eliminated.
Use Care When Hauling Hazardous or Flammable Materials
Another way to reduce the risk of forklift fires is to use the appropriate care and caution when transporting flammable or hazardous materials. Ensure packaging is properly sealed and contained. Make sure loads are secured appropriately.
Reinforce with operators the importance of using care when transporting flammable, explosive, or hazardous materials. And make sure forklifts are approved for the specific area classification in which they will be used.
Pay Special Attention to Battery Cables
Batteries are a primary potential ignition source for forklift fires. That’s because they provide the spark that helps keep the lift truck’s engine running properly. But when that spark inadvertently hits a flammable or explosive material, it can lead to a fire.
Protect battery cables from damage and inspect them regularly to make sure they aren’t damaged. Batteries typically come with an insulated, fire-resistant covering to prevent sparking or arcing. Ensure it is intact and in place during every pre- and post-shift forklift inspection.
Preventing forklift fires is easy when you train your operators to follow these five simple safety measures.