Did you know June 9, 2020 is National Forklift Safety Day? Here are some useful forklift safety tips to help you celebrate.
We tend to overlook laborious, behind-the-scenes jobs in our day to day life. Without these jobs, though, our access to basic goods might be a whole lot more difficult! These "behind-the-scenes" workers are some of the most important in our society, and it's important to admire the hard, often dangerous work they put in every day.
Forklift operation, for example, can be very dangerous if not performed correctly. In fact, there's an average of 85 deaths by forklift per year! This unfortunate number is recognized on National Forklift Safety Day to remind forklift workers to practice safety at all times.
With National Forklift Safety Day just around the corner, here are some useful forklift safety tips that you should always practice.
Always Inspect Your Forklift
Before you sit down on the forklift every morning, you should perform a routine inspection.
Test the controls, check the tires, and look for any obvious issues with the equipment. If there is an issue, alert a manager. You should always put your safety first when it comes to operating a forklift, or any other heavy machinery.
Some important things to take note of include:
- The brakes
- The steering wheel
- The horn
- The forks
- The controls responsible for backing up, driving, etc.
This inspection should carry out beyond the forklift, too. Check that there is no large debris on the floor where you'll be driving. If floors are wet, make sure you slow down when driving on them.
Practice Proper Loading
Forklifts can carry a lot of weight, but that doesn't mean you can load them with reckless abandon. Improper loads are one of the most common causes of forklift incidents across the globe!
It's important to make sure your loads are evenly distributed across the forklift. An unbalanced load can cause the product to fall off the forklift, meaning damage to company goods. Even worse, it could cause the whole forklift to tip over, which could leave you injured!
Get to know the forklift you're using and secure every load you're able. Know the maximum weight limit and don't overload it. If you notice a load teetering, or feel a weight imbalance, lower the load and get out of the forklift immediately.
Only Drive a Forklift If Certified
Like most types of heavy machinery, a license is required to operate a forklift. Never ask somebody to operate a forklift without the proper training. What's more, never operate a forklift if you don't have the proper training.
No matter how easy it looks to operate the forklift, you're not trained. You can't just jump on the forklift and succeed. The controls and rules are much different from, say, driving a car, and your skills won't transfer over.
Make sure your forklift certificate is up-to-date, and you're able to operate the class of forklift you're being asked to.
Wear Your PPE
By law, you are required to wear your personal protective equipment when operating a forklift.
Forklift PPE includes:
- Hard hat
- Safety boots (steel-toed)
- Hi-visibility jacket
- Safety goggles & gloves (in some cases)
Make sure your PPE fits properly. Loose PPE might get caught on the forklift or any number of things in the work area.
This could lead to serious injuries.
Don't Go Too Fast and Take on Ramps Correctly
Some forklifts go faster than others. Generally, though, you should never operate your forklift at full speed.
Your workplace likely has a speed limit in place regarding your forklift. You should never travel past this speed limit, no matter what. Don't rush, take your time, and put your safety first in all cases.
Slow down when going around corners and keep an eye out for debris and slippery floors. If the floor is slippery, slow down when traveling over it. When you make stops, do them slowly and gradually.
When it comes to traversing ramps, always go forward at a consistent speed. When going down a ramp, always do so in reverse. This is especially important to remember if there's a load on the forklift.
You also never want to unload any product while on a ramp or incline.
Don't Carry Anything Aside From the Load
You should never carry anything but the workload on your forklift.
It might seem like a fun, and even efficient idea to give another person a ride to their destination on the forklift. However, this is extremely dangerous. If the worker falls off the forklift, they could get seriously hurt.
Follow Proper End-of-Day Routine
When your shift ends, it's important you don't just get off your forklift and leave it wherever you please.
You should always park your forklift in the designated parking area. Furthermore, you always want to make sure the forks are at their lowest point. This ensures the forklift doesn't tip over or crush other workers in the case of a fault.
Make sure to use the forklift's parking brake and turn it off completely. Don't leave the key lying around for anyone to use. It's also important you don't leave the forklift running when not in use, even if you're only stepping away for a second.
Follow These Forklift Safety Tips Every Day
The forklift safety tips above should be practiced every day, not just on National Forklift Safety Day. By following these tips, you could help lower the drastic number of forklift deaths each year. Maybe if enough people follow them, we can eventually get that number from 85 down to zero!
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