How to Safely Use a Forklift

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Forklift Safety Tips

Forklift trucks contribute to many warehouse and factory injuries throughout the year. Although the percentage of accidents by forklifts is not as high as other pieces of equipment, most forklift accidents can be catastrophic. Following these guidelines can help drivers safely operate their lift trucks.

1. Examine machine prior to operation

Before the driver ever puts the key in the ignition, the best way to assure safety is to make sure the forklift and its components are working. It is critical to have a standard operating procedure for inspecting the forklift. First the operator must check fuel and voltage levels, if not done prior to operation the machine may malfunction. Hydraulic oil and fluid levels are important because it allows the forklift to raise and lower their platforms. In addition, the operator must do a walk around to check for any other systems that may be impaired before turning on the forklift such as overhead guard lights, and load backrest.

2. Play Defense

To make sure the driver is safely operating a forklift they must pay attention to their surroundings. This means forklift operators must keep their eyes focused on what is in front of them as well as constantly surveying their peripherals. The operator must refrain from electronic devices to keep both hands available. Eliminating distractions is the most important way to maintain focus on surroundings. A forklift operator must anticipate dangerous situations and swiftly maneuver the forklift as well.

3. Communicate
A forklift driver needs to be able to clearly communicate to people in the area. This can be with their voice or the on-board safety features. An operator should use the horn liberally to alert people that a forklift is in motion and may be carrying a heavy load. The operator must error on the side of caution when it comes to communicating what they are doing on their machine. Communicating is critical to success and forklift operation is no different.

4. Training
Taking training courses is another way to make sure the operator is up to date with safety. Local forklift dealers can offer training courses or can recommend where to go. Safety is a priority in this industry and must not be taken lightly. If the proper guidelines are taken along with staying up to date with classes a forklift can be a valuable tool for any business.

A forklift is a great piece of equipment that can make your business more efficient which can lead to more profits. However, just like any other piece of equipment, a forklift must be respected and treated correctly. Maintaining and following these simple guidelines will help you, as an operator, safely use a forklift. Keep in mind that these guidelines are not the only procedures that must be followed. Anyone operating a forklift must adhere to the laws set by OSHA and their own company

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