Thankfully the number of forklift truck accidents that result in a fatality is falling year on year. However, it’s always important to do as much as you can to ensure safety is kept as a number one priority. As accidents can still happen with forklifts, and the responsibility for forklift truck safety falls on the shoulders of everyone.
With that in mind, we’ve got 5 key steps for you to follow that can help you maintain strong forklift safety and efficiency in the workplace.
You must wear safety gear
Every operator in your workplace needs to wear the appropriate safety clothing. This usually means a hard hat, solid safety shoes, and high-visibility jackets. It’s also of course essential that safety clothing is well-fitted, as loose garments can become a constant distraction and safety hazard.
Keep up daily inspections
Any forklift trucks need to be inspected before use at the start of every working shift. If any issues are identified, then these need to be reported immediately. Any thorough safety inspection needs to include; brakes, controls, steering, tyres, warning devices and the mast.
Carrying out regular daily inspections will not only help avoid accidents from failed machinery, it will also help to prevent minor issues becoming much more costly expensive problems down the line.
Have a look at how to perform a daily forklift truck checklist here.
Be fully aware of load capacity & distribution
Do not flout your vehicle loading capacities as this is a quick recipe for accidents. The maximum load for both the truck and any attachments must be observed at all times. You should also never use the forks to push or lever loads, as doing this will ultimately weaken them significantly over time.
Keep in mind that the truck’s load capacity is only applicable when the goods are evenly distributed over the forks. By placing the load over just one for example, you’ll be placing a lot of severe stress on the vehicle. Avoid this and also ensure that all pallets and skids are structurally sound and will stay intact during operation.
Be safe whenever refueling
Make sure that you have a designated area for refuelling in your workplace. And make sure that no refuelling takes place outside of this area. By designating a specific area, you’ll help to keep things moving efficiently in your working environment and you’ll also help to avoid fuel spillages happening in multiple areas. Make sure the engine is fully off when refuelling, the designated area is always well-ventilated and away from open flames.
Always maintain high visibility
If an operator cannot see his or her load, their route ahead, or their unloading destination then they must stop operating their forklift truck straight away. Allowing operators to drive using guesswork will quickly result in injuries, breakages or worse.
When operators need to steer in reverse to improve visibility, this must never be done on a ramp. When they are still struggling to see their route, loads or unloading destination clearly, then a lookout must be used.