The Ten Commandments of Forklift Safety

Hybrid Forklift.
(Courtesy: Forklift Driving School at flickr.com)

There’s a lot to remember when operating a forklift. Because it is a powerful, multi-ton machine capable of lifting heavy loads many feet high in the air, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

Forklift safety is everybody’s business. It affects not only operators but pedestrians and business owners as well. A single forklift accident can not only cause thousands of dollars in property damage and lost product, but also injury and even death.

Taking forklift safety seriously is imperative in any workplace. Here are 10 forklift safety rules to follow to keep your employees — and your business — safe.

Reducing Forklift Accidents

I. If the forklift has a seatbelt, wear it.

II. Know your forklifts maximum load capacity and never exceed it.

III. Before raising a loaded pallet or load, take the vehicle out of gear and set the parking brake.

IV. When traveling on or near a ramp or dock, keep a safe distance from the edge.

V. Look for other forklifts working in the same area and give each other plenty of leeway.

VI. Always be able to see in the direction that you are moving. If the forklift is fully loaded and the driver’s forward vision is blocked, drive in reverse.

VII. When entering and exiting the forklift, use the grab bar and foot pads to prevent falls and slips.

VIII. Forklifts come equipped with lights, mirrors, and horns. Use them.

IX. Drive below the posted speed limit and give pedestrians the right of way. Always.

X. Don’t lift people on the forks.

Forklift Safety Training

While most of these forklift safety rules would seem as if they are common sense, some of them are probably being broken in your workplace right now. Any fleet manager or warehouse supervisor can tell you that people are people, so they invariably are going to look for shortcuts, do stupid things, and make mistakes.

The best defense against forklift accidents is a good offense. Training your workers on the safe operation of a forklift then continually reinforcing these safety rules every day is the only way to ensure that workers stay on track.

Management has responsibilities as well. Take any forklift that is broken or not safe out of service immediately. Giving your workers sub-par tools will yield poor results.

Preventative maintenance can prolong the life of your equipment as well as prevent breakdowns and accidents.

Finally, take pride in your equipment. Keep forklifts clean, free of debris, as well as free of oil and grease stains.

 

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