Six Tips for Safe Forklift Operation Safety

April 8, 2020 9:38 pm Published by 1 Comment

Never consider purchasing or renting a forklift without learning about forklift safety in Lafayette, LA. While forklift operation simplifies your warehouse processes and reduces the chance of injury, those benefits become skewed once your workers tread into unsafe practices. To keep your warehouse safe and avoid delays due to injury, here are six essential forklift safety tips:

  • Licensed operators: Hiring unlicensed operators may allow you to pay lower wages, but you will exceed those savings with workers’ compensation claims. The licensing process ensures that your workers are trained in forklift operation and know how to work safely. For that reason, you should only hire licensed operators or workers who are willing to meet qualifications to become licensed. Do not cut corners on this essential step.
  • Provide an equipment checklist: All equipment, including forklifts, should be inspected before operation. The best way to make sure this is done is by providing checklists. Items in that list may include testing brakes, steering, controls, warning devices and tire inflation. If anything is wrong, have a procedure for the worker to report the defects and schedule the forklift for repair. Making these processes awkward or impossible is a good way to discourage workers from reporting unsafe conditions, so make this easy and non-confrontational.
  • Load correctly: Unbalanced loads can cause a forklift to fall over. Another danger is heavy loads, which can lead to equipment failure. All workers should know the load capacity of their forklifts and never push them, even if they are anxious to conclude their work quickly on a Friday afternoon. Loads should also be evenly distributed on both forks, and unstable loads should never be moved. Finally, forklifts should only carry inanimate cargo—never people. Post these rules in a visible spot and have a swift process if anyone violates them.
  • Avoiding speeding: Warehouses are tight and busy places, and operators should keep their machines under control. That includes following warehouse speed limits and turning slowly to avoid flipping the forklift. Since forklifts are not designed for sudden stops if a product falls down or people walk in front of them, controlling speed is essential for avoiding further injury. Driving them around like sport cars is asking for a workplace accident.
  • Maintain visibility: Know where you are going. Do not back up where you cannot see where you are headed, especially on a ramp. If poor light or power outages make it impossible to rack a load, find a lookout helper or wait until conditions improve.
  • Use the horn: Sometimes, people get used to an environment and tune out. They may not be watching where they walk or what they do. If you know there is a site tour in progress, or spots where pedestrian traffic is higher, honk the horn before turning corners or entering doorways. This is also helpful if there are other forklift operators who may not look out for you.

George’s Lift Truck Service, LLC ensures its stock and rental equipment meet standards for forklift safety. If you’d like to see how forklift operation in Lafayette, LA can improve your warehouse, contact us today to see what we offer.

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