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Horns are a funny thing. On cars and trucks that drive on streets and highways, they are rarely used. But for forklift operators, they are one of the most important pieces of safety equipment at their disposal.
While horns are considered rude and unnecessary on public roads, in workplaces that use forklifts they are normal and even widely accepted.
A car driver who honks his horn at the person in front of him is often the target of dark thoughts. But when a forklift operator honks his horn at pedestrians or before turning a corner, it’s not because they are being a jerk. It’s because they want people to be aware of their presence so they don’t get hurt.
Forklift horns, therefore, are an essential piece of equipment. So when your forklift horn is broken or damaged, it can put everybody at risk: The forklift operator, pedestrians, even your business. All it takes is one forklift accident caused by a broken or missing horn and business owners could find themselves in court defending their company against a negligence suit.
Checking whether a forklift’s horns are working or not should be a part of every pre- and post-shift inspection.
When performing their duties, forklift operators shouldn’t be discouraged from using their horns. Quite the opposite. Honking their horns should be as much a part of driving a forklift as hitting the gas pedal or turning the steering wheel.
Drivers also should be encouraged to report when their vehicle’s horns aren’t working properly or are missing altogether. Like everything else on the forklift, horns are a mechanical device that are subject to normal wear and tear. And because they are used so frequently, they can wear out faster than other forklift parts.
Replacing a broken forklift horn is a relatively simple procedure that should be able to be performed by any competent fleet maintenance staff. Replacement horns are available for practically every type of forklift. There are even universal horns that can be used on any make or model.
Running a forklift with a broken horn is as bad as allowing one to be driven without brakes or without steering. It’s dangerous and unnecessary.
Forklift horns are a key piece of safety equipment on any vehicle. Replacing broken or missing horns not only makes your workplace safer and keeps your employees out of harm’s way, but also helps protect your business.