Forklifts enable your warehouse team to lift and move materials efficiently. But safely operating a forklift requires maintaining the equipment and following best working practices. Consider these five forklift safety tips for your warehouse.
1. Complete Appropriate Training
Before an operator runs the lift truck, they must complete specialized training. The warehouse’s training program must comply with standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Through the training program, employees will learn about topics related to lift trucks and the workplace. Employees must also undergo practical training and pass an evaluation before they are qualified to operate a forklift.
2. Perform Pre-Shift Inspections
One of the top safety tips for operating a forklift in a warehouse is to perform pre-shift inspections. The operator should walk around the equipment to ensure various parts, such as the tires, fluid levels, and battery, are in good working order. After the walk-around inspection, the operator should conduct a seated inspection to check equipment like the seat belt, brakes, steering, and gauges.
If the operator finds an abnormality during the inspection, they should report their concerns to their supervisor. No one should use the forklift until it is cleared for use.
3. Stay Aware of Surroundings
Forklift operators must stay aware of their surroundings to avoid collisions with pedestrians and other forklifts. They won’t be able to come to an immediate stop if there’s an obstruction in the machine’s path, so drivers need to operate the equipment defensively. They should also avoid driving on uneven and slippery surfaces, and keep a safe distance from other objects.
Likewise, pedestrians and bystanders need to follow the safest workplace procedures around forklifts; this means using designated walkways and watching moving forklifts anytime they’re near to avoid mishaps.
4. Ensure Forklift Stability
The next forklift safety tip is to ensure load stability. Operators cannot overload a forklift beyond its rated capacity. They must ensure the load is secured, spread evenly, and set into the back end of the forks. They also need to use the right forklift attachments required for the job.
As they drive, the operator should check the surface conditions. If there’s a slope, they must drive on it slowly without turning. While going up the slope, the load should be before the operator. While going down the slope, they need to keep the load behind them.
5. Adhere to the Maintenance Schedule
Finally, all operators must follow the forklift’s maintenance schedule to ensure equipment works correctly, safely, and efficiently. While the manufacturer recommends a basic maintenance schedule, other factors can influence how often your lift truck needs service.
If your forklift operates in a dusty environment, has spikes of increased activity, or uses an attachment, it probably needs service more frequently. Forklift maintenance will take care of engine fluids and filters, brakes, belts, hoses, and other components at different intervals.
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