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How to Ensure Forklift Safety in the Workplace

Recent statistics from the CDC reveal that of 888,220 nonfatal work injuries that led to missed work, 27% were because of slips, trips, and falls.

Forklift safety is essential for your employees. It is about more than missing work

According to another recent study, 89% of workers feel that their safety in the workplace is more important than ever, but only 54% of those same workers think that their safety is critical to their employer. 90% of employees in the same poll say that their organization must protect employees from unnecessary harmful risks as an obligation to their people.

If part of your business means operating a forklift, what measures are you taking to ensure the safety of your staff? Are you doing enough?

Here are steps you should take currently; if you are not, you must implement them immediately.

Get Forklift Certifications

Forklift safety is imperative to prevent harm or injury to others. Unfortunately, too many times, an accident will occur when proper training is not present.

Experts highly recommend that only those who are operating a forklift are employees who have proper training and licensure per the OSHA standards. It is not enough for training and certification to be one and done.

Employers set the standards of workplace safety, and this means evaluating performance in the future. You should evaluate your forklift drivers at least once every three years. Offer supplemental training, which can include demonstrations, video training, software training, and lectures.

Wear the Right Clothing

How your operators dress makes a tremendous difference in their safety and wellbeing. Hard hats protect their head, safety shoes protect their feet, and high-visibility jackets ensure they are visible to those around them.

Loose clothing could get caught somewhere on the forklift and cause injury. Make sure that if the operator is wearing loose clothing, they tuck their loose clothing away.

Use a Floor Marking System

This is a great way to ensure the safety of your employees. For physical hazards, mark it with yellow. Include areas prone to stumbling or falling.

To mark emergency switches, fire equipment, and fire hazards, use red. Keep pedestrians away from forklift paths by marking them with signs, which will also help with the traffic flow of the work area.

Equipment Capacity

Your forklift and its attachments have a capacity limit for a reason. It is to maintain the safety of the operator and to prevent damage to the equipment itself. Do not carry excess weight.

What could happen is the rear wheels could rise and lift off the floor. In this case, the entire forklift will fall over.

When discussing excess weight, this includes not carrying extra people, too. Unless there are two seats, do not allow another worker to ride on the forklift. Companies make forklifts for carrying loads, not people, so never ever lift a person.

Inspect Forklifts Daily

An important part of training is proper forklift maintenance. Your employees must know how to care for and inspect the equipment.

Before operating a forklift each time, it needs a thorough inspection. The shift supervisor should perform a daily check, marking down a problem or defect if they notice it. If the forklift requires repair, no one should operate it.

Check the following areas prior to operation:

  • Test the controls, including lights, horn, brakes, and steering wheel
  • Check that the forklift itself is in good condition
  • Check for potential hazards
  • Examine tires
  • Examine fluid levels
  • Check for leaks such as a radiator, water, or oil

Once you inspect the forklift, and it clears the inspection, it is ready to use. There are a lot of details to adhere to for safe operation, as you will read about next.

Workplace Training

There are many safety hazards to heed when forklift driving. Therefore, forklift training is very important.

If there are speed limits, road signs, and floor markings, employees must adhere to all rules and regulations.

Anyone in your organization that is operating a forklift should always use a seatbelt. Before backing up the forklift, it is critical to look behind them first. If your visibility is limited, leverage a spotter to help you.

Further, if you cannot see in front of you because your load is blocking the view, drive in reverse, not forward. If you are traveling on an incline and have a load, the load must point uphill while traveling. When traveling on an incline with no load, ensure that the forks are pointing down.

Keep All Limbs Inside the Forklift

Your legs, feet, arms, and head should always be inside the forklift when driving it. Do not drive when the forklift is raised. Also, never push another vehicle with the forklift.

A forklift that travels at 10 miles per hour needs the appropriate amount of space to make a full stop on a dry surface, which is approximately 22 feet.

Docks and Railroads

If you are driving over a dock plate, ensure that it is secure prior to driving over it. When crossing railroad tracks, it is important to drive in a diagonal direction. This is how the driver can prevent the load from slipping and prevent the wheels from damaging.

Unauthorized drivers cannot get behind the wheel. They certainly cannot engage in any sort of horseplay. If there is a crash, report it to a supervisor immediately.

Forklift Safety

Compliance Training Online is here to keep your company compliant, but more importantly, keep your employees safe. Forklift safety is a critical piece of keeping your people out of harm’s way. Plus, forklifts are expensive pieces of equipment, and you want to prevent damage from them by following the best safety standards and training there is.

We have high-quality, easy-to-use, online training courses to help you. Contact us now to learn more.

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