Because of its might, a forklift proves to be an indispensable piece of equipment in any industrial workplace. Unfortunately, with its immense power comes massive danger. According to North Carolina State University's safety meeting presentation about forklift safety, around 100 people die each year due to forklift accidents. About 25 percent of these disasters are caused by overturning.
Forklift operation may be complicated and dangerous, but there is no problem larger than a forklift that can't be solved. Heed these forklift safety tips to help you and your employees combat forklift hazards.
Put up forklift safety signs. Familiarity does breed contempt. When your people become accustomed to using or being around a forklift, they tend to keep their guards down. This breeds danger - not because the forklift might eventually find fault in its operator - but because your employees might forget the giant moving machine is a probable hazard. Displaying forklift signs in your workplace reminds your staff that they are in a possibly unsafe environment, making them more alert.
Train your workers. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety suggests conducting periodic trainings on forklift safety. This will keep procedures and policies imbibed in your people's mind. Don't forget to hold first aid trainings as well. In case an accident occurs, it would be a boon if your workers can treat injuries.
Examine your forklift regularly. While this behemoth of a machine is heavy-duty, frequent usage contributes to its wear and tear. Regular maintenance keeps the efficiency and safety status of your forklift at par with the manufacturer's and government's standards.
Before using a forklift, give it a visual and operational inspection to assess its cleanliness and functionality. If you find something wrong, immediately ask your repairman to check it out.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Industrial Trucking Association created a sample daily checklist you can use for industrial trucks.
Allow only certified operators to man your forklift. A trained forklift operator should be capable of controlling the truck smoothly when starting, stopping, hauling, elevating and tilting. OSHA prohibits anybody under the age of 18 or anyone over 18, without proper training and certification, from driving a forklift.
With great power comes great responsibility, and operating a powerful, immense apparatus such as a forklift requires greater responsibility. Keep in mind that carelessness behind the wheel does not only endanger your cargo, machine and facility, but it jeopardizes your people as well.
Maricris Taeza writes and edits articles about safety and security for Emedco. When she has accumulated enough vacation leaves, she would either explore a big city or brave the tallest ride in an amusement park. To date, she has been to 20 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and 7 Asian countries.