We have all seen the videos on YouTube and other popular video sharing sites of people causing massive destruction with forklift trucks, sometimes even bringing down a whole shelving unit in a warehouse. However as funny and entertaining as these videos are to watch online in reality these sorts of accidents are serious and could cause serious injury to the person operating the forklift truck or someone else nearby.
Below are some tips when operating a forklift truck to make sure that you and people around you stay safe when you are operating one of these machines.
Always Wear a Seat Belt:
One quarter of all forklift accidents are caused due to a forklift truck tipping over. Wearing a seatbelt whilst in control (or not so as the case may be) will prevent you from being throw from the vehicle and accidently crushed if it topples over onto you. Having the seat belt on keeps you keeps you protected as the sturdy frame of the forklift acts as protection in case of an accident.
Don’t Load Beyond Capacity:
For safety reasons each truck has a graded weight capacity attached to it which under no circumstances should be exceeded. If graded weight capacity is overloaded, even by a fraction, it could cause the forklift to become top heavy and therefore tip over. When operating the machine make sure that you place a weight bearing load as far back on the truck as possible. Keeping the heavy load near the mast will centre the forklift and provide additional stability when driving.
Turn Slowly and Steady:
Remember slow and steady wins the race (if you don’t believe me read the story of the tortoise and the hare). Forklifts should be treated much differently than other vehicles such as cars as the steering is in the rear of the machine. This means that when the forklift is turned the vehicle will swing in a wide arc. This is why it is critically important that the operator always turns and stops as smoothly as possible without any jerking movements. A quick sudden movement can easily throw the forklift off balance and tip when carrying a heavy load.
Do Not Ride With More Than One Operator In The Cab:
This is the case, unless the truck is made to hold two people. It is never a good idea under any circumstance to have another person hop onto the forklift, even if it’s only for a short trip.
On a final note always make sure that your forklift is well maintained. If you are about to buy a used forklift give it a good looking over before your purchase to make sure everything is in fully working order.