In the warehouse, forklifts are a common piece of equipment. They are used to move pallets around to make storage and retrieval easier. When they’re used properly, forklifts can be a helpful piece of machinery. However, forklifts can pose a danger if they’re not used safely. In fact, according to OSHA, forklift operators are at risk of being injured or killed on the job. There were over 2,000 reported incidents involving powered industrial trucks in general and over 600 incidents specific to forklift usage in 2017 alone. These statistics reveal just how important it is for operators to be aware of safe practices when using these machines. Here is an ultimate guide on safe operational practices of a forklift:
Maintain Visibility at All Times
Visibility is an important consideration for all forklift operators. If visibility is impaired, it can make it difficult to operate the equipment. Forklift operators should always wear the appropriate PPE to protect their heads, eyes, and hearing.
In addition, operators should make sure there are no obstructions to their line of sight. If an obstruction exists, it can make it difficult to see any workers who may be nearby. In some cases, an obstruction may even block the view of pallets that are being lifted. This can result in workers being run over by the forklift. If the visibility is blocked, it can also make it difficult to see what is being lifted, making it more likely that workers and equipment could be dropped or crushed by loads.
Always Use the Stabilization Valve
The stabilization valve is designed to keep the forklift stable when it is raised. It is especially important to use this valve when loading and unloading the forklift. This ensures that the load is properly stabilized and that workers near the forklift are not in danger of being hit by the load. If the load isn’t stabilized properly, it can lead to the equipment being unstable and crashing to the ground. It can also cause the load to be unstable, which can put workers at risk of being hit by the falling load.
Develop Awareness of Your Surroundings
For the safety of both forklift operators and other workers, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If a worker is in the vicinity of the forklift, the operator should be extra cautious. This is especially important when moving loads. Forklift operators need to make sure that they are not being over the heads of any workers below them. If a load is being improperly lifted and a worker is nearby, they can easily be hit by the load. If a worker is underneath the forklift, the operator needs to make sure that they are not being pushed down by the load. This can lead to serious injury or death.
Don’t Overload Your Forklift
There are a number of reasons to make sure your forklift is not overloaded. First of all, it can lead to damage to the equipment. If the load is too heavy, it can lead to the forklift being unstable. When it is unstable, it is more likely to tip over and cause injury. In an effort to avoid tipping over, operators may try to lift the load higher than what is safe, leading to a dangerous situation. Overloading can also cause damage to the pallets being lifted. If the forks are overloaded, they will sag and make it difficult to move them. It can also cause the forks to break, or it can lead to the pallets being damaged.
Use the Right Equipment for the Job
It is important to use the right equipment for the job. For example, you wouldn’t use a forklift to move a pallet that is too wide or too tall, or one that is too heavy for the forklift. It is important to use the right equipment for the job to avoid damaging the equipment and to make sure the job is completed safely and efficiently. For example, if a forklift is being used to move a large pallet that is too tall for the forks, the pallet could fall off the forks and cause damage to the equipment and/or someone nearby.
Always Stay in Operational Motion
Forklift operators should always stay in operational motion when using the forklift. This means that operators should keep the forklift moving and not stop the machine for too long. When the forklift is stopped, it is more likely to tip over. Stopping the forklift can also cause the load to shift or fall off the forks. Having a safe operational practice will help prevent injuries and accidents involving forklifts and forklift operators. Forklift operators need to be aware of their surroundings, use the appropriate equipment, and follow safe operational practices to protect themselves and others.