Forklift Safety: 4 Tips for Safe Handling

When you own a business that requires the use of a forklift, you face certain risks. It’s important to carefully evaluate and mitigate risks before operating your forklift. Here are some things you can do.

Invest in a quality machine.

You can avoid many problems with your forklift by buying a high-quality machine to begin with. Head to a forklift dealer near you and peruse the merchandise, asking a lot of questions to make sure you’re getting a high-quality machine.

Many of today’s forklifts are equipped with special safety features such as backup cameras and collision-prevention systems. Special safeguards also ensure that only someone who is trained to operate the vehicle can do so.

Consider purchasing a newer, more high-tech forklift with all the safety features. The extras on your machine may be what prevents accidents in the future.

Have a Procedure for Operation and Accidents

Forklift safety is best maintained when you have operating procedures in place. Certified drivers will know how best to navigate the floor and go through a safety checklist before starting up. These safeguards are vital for the protection of your drivers, floor personnel, and property.

Unfortunately, accidents can happen in the workplace, no matter how carefully you follow procedure. When they do, it’s important to have a process to cover both the medical emergency aspects and the paperwork that will follow.

Keep in mind the possibility of a personal injury negligence claim being filed against your company. You would never intentionally withhold financial support for injury or property damages from someone involved in the accident, but if you don’t have procedures in place, that can be the result.

Hold regular trainings so that all personnel know what to do when an accident happens. This could be a life-saving move on your part.

Only Allow Certified Drivers Behind the Wheel

All forklift operators should be certified to operate heavy machinery. Training and licensing for forklift operation can be performed on the job if you’re a certified licenser, or it can be done through a third-party institution. Unless a person has gone through this training, do not let them behind the wheel of the forklift, even if the person is in management.

Along with checking that the drivers are trained and ready to operate the machinery, make sure they’re in good shape to do so. Drivers should not be intoxicated or otherwise unfit to operate heavy machinery.

One of the most important things you can do to promote safety for drivers is to make sure they’re not exhausted. Encourage drivers to get a good night’s sleep and to take regular vacations to avoid burnout.

When a good employee seems to be losing clarity, suggest they go camping in Port Macquarie or another coastal destination. Employees can think far clearer when they’re well-rested and relaxed.

Remove Obvious Hazards

Many accidents that happen with a forklift can be avoided if you are proactive and removed hazards to begin with. Start by carefully examining the equipment before using it to  avoid a malfunction. Operators should follow a routine check, add oil when necessary, and stop for any repair or maintenance issues.

They should also make sure the area is clear for operation. Remove all obstacles. For example, if a huge pile of perforated tubing is on the floor, even if it’s not in the immediate path, operating machinery on the floor may not be wise until it’s moved.

Watch out for all signs in the area, such as clearance heights, and be wary when people are around. If someone who is not trained to work around heavy machinery walks into the work area, cease operation until the person leaves.

Safe forklift operation is not always easy to accomplish, and it can take time to go through all the steps. However, doing everything in your power to protect your employees and any onlookers from injury is vital.