The Three Keys to Forklift Safety in the Workplace

(Courtesy: David Bruce Jr.)

(Courtesy: David Bruce Jr.)

When it comes to forklift safety in your warehouse, manufacturing facility or other business, there are three keys factors that can ensure total and complete compliance with forklift safety rules.

The first is having clearly designated and marked traffic routes that separate vehicles from pedestrians.

Establish Designated Traffic Routes

Although this may seem obvious, you might be surprised by the number of businesses that have absolutely no distinction between where forklifts are allowed to operate and where workers on foot are allowed to walk.

One of the most common types of forklift accident is when somebody is struck by a vehicle that is either turning a corner or one or both parties aren’t carefully watching where they are going. Both of these types of accidents can be avoided if there are clearly defined areas for both vehicles and pedestrian.

Some managers might complain that this is not practical because there is not enough room in a facility to set aside a lane exclusively for vehicles.

But what’s even more impractical is having to pay for the medical expenses and workman’s compensation claim for an employee who is injured by a forklift operator. Or facing fines, penalties and even criminal charges in connection with an accident involving serious personal injury or even the death of a worker.

Provide Continual Training

When it comes to forklift safety training, it’s not a “one and done” deal. Anybody operating a forklift not only needs to be trained and certified before getting behind the wheel of one of these dangerous vehicles, but also needs to receive continual training and refresher courses so that they continue to maintain their skills.

Human beings are not perfect. So they need to be continually reminded of the importance of forklift safety. There’s simply is too much at stake in terms of worker health and safety.

But they also need to be continually monitored. The person managing the forklift crew has as much, if not more, responsibility for the way they drive. So it’s critical that they provide the supervision required to maintain the highest safety standards.

Management Engagement

Creating a company-wide culture in which forklift safety is promoted is the best way to ensure that everybody — drivers and pedestrians alike — are going to be on board all the time.

The aim of such a strategy is to promote a positive safety culture in which everybody from top to bottom shares in the values regarding risk, hazards and preventing accidents. Any company’s goal should be to create a self-policing environment in which bad practices simply aren’t tolerated by the people within your organization and are corrected or reported right away.

The Payoff

By building your company’s forklift safety culture on these three tenets, you can not only reduce the number of accidents in your facility, but also reduce operating costs and enhance your company’s bottom line.

Forklift safety is everybody’s concern. Even the smallest collision between a multi-ton forklift and a frail human body can have devastating results. Make sure all of the people within your organization buy in to the positive safety culture you create.


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