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In a recent blog about possible hazards associated with forklifts we mentioned exiting and entering a lift as a possible cause of falling. Well, such activity is not the only possibility of tripping when involved with a forklift. It seems that there are a number of trip points that affect the safety of one who operates a lift.
Here are a few things that could cause a forklift operator to trip while working a lift.
Steps. Steps are an essential part for entering and exiting a forklift. It’s something that a forklift operator has to negotiate each and ever day. However, if your job requires you to drive a variety of lifts, then you need to be aware that tripping can be an issue. There may be subtle design differences between one forklift and another that could result in the possibility of tripping. For example, step height and location could be different between one forklift and another. Moreover, there may be a difference in the elevation of the cab from the floor that could cause a fall if you’re not paying attention. Always be cautious when entering and exiting a lift. As you enter and exit a lift use a three-point stance – one foot down and each hand gripping a part of the lift to assure balance.
Pedals. The floor of a forklift is equipped with a number of pedals including the service brake, accelerator, and parking brake. Be familiar with the location of each of the pedals so that entering and exiting the lift will be free of any tripping incidences. Always engage the parking brake when exiting a lift.
Floorboard. The floorboard on forklifts can vary in size, shape and material. In addition, there could be elevation differences between the floorboards of some lifts when compared to others. And, an individual floorboard could have abnormalities that may catch you off guard while entering or exiting the lift. If the floorboard is damaged or if its tread is worn, take action to have it replaced or for a mat to be put on top to avoid balancing issues. Be sure that the mat is installed properly and is secure to ensure that a fall is prevented.
Forks and Attachments. Be aware of what is on the ground when you walk around a parked forklift. Forks and other attachments on the front of the lift can create differences in elevation that can be easily missed if you aren’t paying attention.
Options. There can be optional items that have been added to the interior of a lift that may affect the space of the operator’s area and could cause one to trip. These items can include floor-mounted heaters/defrosters, audio/stereo speakers, floor-mounted stands, and hood-mounted accessories including mini-levers and amenity trays. Be sure to enter and exit a forklift’s proper side based on whether or not there are obstructions present. Always be aware of the location of all optional equipment.
There’s nothing wrong with being cautious. There are tripping hazards all around us.