8 Safety Tips To Know When Driving A Forklift
In almost all warehouses, on docks, and in shipping centers, you will find a forklift. Undoubtedly, forklifts can be a challenge to drive because they are classified as heavy machinery. A forklift is an intense and helpful machine when looking to move heavy pallets from one place to another, however, in untrained hands; operating a forklift can be dangerous and hazardous to any job site without adhering to standard safety operating procedures.
Here are few of the most common forklift operator requirements for most job sites. Keep in mind that each job site poses different safety challenges thus it is important to learn your employer’s requirements and safety procedures.
Forklift Operators Must Have A Certification
Forklifts and all heavy machinery must be operated by certified forklift drivers who have been trained appropriately and licensed to operate the equipment.
Safety Gear Must Be Worn
Safety gear must be worn when operating any type of heavy machinery. Safety gear includes:
- a hard hat
- safety boots or shoes
- hi-visibility vests or coats
When operating a forklift you’ll need to also be wearing sensibly fitted clothing to avoid loose fitting clothing that could get captured on a lever or other operating mechanism of the forklift.
Pre-operation Checklist Must Be Completed
Operators ought to complete a standard check of the forklift before operating them. A few things must be checked such as:
- Warning devices
In addition to the pre-operation checklist, it is also important to also make sure your seat or operating position is set. All the controls must be within a comfortable reach and the seat position and mirrors adjusted as well.
Survey Surroundings and Environment
It is important to be watchful and alert at all times when operating a forklift. Double check to make sure you have enough space to safely operate the forklift when stacking or moving items. Remember to know distance and designated areas to ensure you don’t drive the forklift to far on a dock or in a truck.
When driving your forklift take corners and turn slowly to limit the danger of tipping. Avoid uneven ground surfaces, objects on the ground and other team members by maintaining a distance of at least 50 feet. Press the horn when turning corners, entering a space or changing directions unexpectedly.
Double Check Your Load
Always make sure that loads are effectively stacked and situated side to side over the two forks. Do not lift or move a load except if the two forks are completely under the load. Do not lift a load with one fork. Utilize beds and slips that can withstand the heaviness of the load. Do not use disfigured or rotted beds for holding loads.
Fill Up In Designated Areas
A forklift should just be refueled at designated areas. To fill up turn off the forklift. For IC motor forklifts, no open fire or sparks are allowed, and refueling should happen in a well ventilated area.
Shut Down With Care
When you are ready to shut down your forklift, park your forklift in the designated area and begin your post checklist. Remember to lower the forks completely to the floor and apply the brake. Turn off the forklift and remove the key as required.
Operating a forklift takes skill, readiness and know how. Review all your training material regularly to ensure you are compliant with your employer’s procedures. Always remember to do a pre-check and post-check of your forklift to ensure optimal productivity and safety.