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Increasing productivity and fuel efficiency of your forklift fleet is neither rocket science nor
luck. Better driving habits, regular forklift servicing, and identifying the reasons for and eliminating accidents are ways to ensure that fuel costs are kept in check and productivity is maximized.
Toyota Material Handling has come up with a list of 23 tips involving forklift operation and servicing that could help you achieve progress on these issues.
Concerning forklift operator’s driving behavior, Toyota makes six suggestions.
· Don’t start the engine of the forklift until you are ready to go.
· Maintain a steady pace within the limits presented by the warehouse facility. Drive smoothly, accelerate gently and pay attention to the route you are driving to avoid unnecessary braking.
· Don’t rev the engine or accelerate unnecessarily. Coasting toward a stacking destination is better than driving and stopping quickly.
· Train forklift operators in driving efficiently.
· Discourage forklift operators from idling. If they have to stop to wait for a load to be prepared, then encourage them to turn the engine off.
Toyota makes four suggestions pertaining to forklift servicing.
· Create a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it.
· Select the proper tires for the lift and check their condition regularly.
· Make sure you use the proper specification of engine oil and check fluid levels monthly. Regularly inspect the air filter and if clogged replace it.
· Monitor the LPG bottle. You probably are not aware that a substantial amount of gas stored in bottles is returned to the supplier. Make sure that forklift operators totally empty the bottle of gas before changing it.
Toyota Material Handling has also identified 12 ways to avoid forklift accidents.
· Forklift operators should drive only the trucks they are qualified and licensed to drive.
· Operators should never leave a forklift unattended without shutting off the engine, removing the key, neutralizing the controls, setting the brakes and lowering the forks.
· Forklift operators should check the lift’s brakes, horns, steering mechanism and other components each time they use the truck. Report faulty equipment to the appropriate supervisor immediately.
· Forklift operators should never exceed the safe working load weight.
· Forklift operators should never allow anyone to ride the forks or raise the forks when someone is on them.
· Forklift drivers should keep arms, legs and head inside the forklift driver’s compartment whenever the machine is being used.
· Forklift operators should always position loads into the heel of the forks and never attempt to move unstable loads.
· Forklift operators should slow down where aisles cross and where there are sharp curves, ramps, and blind corners. They also should never drive on wet, slippery or rough floors or in congested locations and when vision is limited or obstructed.
· Forklift operators should never drive with the forks raised and should always lower the forks prior to parking.
· Forklift operators should always watch for pedestrians.
· Forklift operators should always look in the direction of travel.
· Forklift operators should drive cautiously on bends and inclines and should never park on a ramp or inclined surface unless absolutely necessary. When they do, they should set the parking brake and chock the wheels.