Forklifts are very common pieces of equipment available in a warehouse. They are capable of moving large, heavy products across the workplace in a short period. Despite their efficiency and convenience, these machines can prove to be dangerous without the right safety rules in place. In the tips below, we will go through some forklift safety tips for employers, drivers as well as pedestrians, so that you can keep each person in your warehouse as safe as possible.
Forklift Safety Tips for Drivers
Perhaps the most obvious tip here is only to allow licensed, qualified workers, to operate forklifts. Some forklifts require specialised training to function. Thus, make sure that you allow the right employees to handle each task in your distribution centre. With the right women and men behind the wheel, you can apply these forklift safety tips for operators:
- Adjust driving speeds based on flooring texture, location and the number of people in an area. Efficiency is essential, but safety is even more critical.
- Always honk before turning at blind corners to warn people that you are coming. It will make individuals aware that you are approaching, thereby hinting them to stop and look around for any approaching danger.
- Slow down for ramps, corners, intersections and other areas with high collision risks.
- Watch out for wet surfaces as well as spills while driving, and avoid puddles of liquid wherever possible.
- Do not allow others to ride with you on the forklift.
- Report all hazards and accidents immediately.
- If you notice any problems with the truck’s operations, report them to your supervisor as soon as possible, so that the machine can undergo maintenance and repair.
- Before parking, always lower the forks to the ground.
- Leave adequate space between your machine and other forklifts while driving down the aisles. If there is not sufficient room for two machines, wait until the area is clear to move in.
- Never use a mobile phone while operating a forklift truck.
- If your drivers can follow these rules and other forklift safety instructions, you will be able to avoid many accidents in the workplace.
- Park the forklift truck in a safe location, away from other machines and workers.
Forklift Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Just because you are not operating a forklift does not mean you can act however you want around it. Non-operating employees need to practice safety around forklifts just as much as the drivers do. Apply these forklift safety instructions in your warehouse:
- Always make eye contact with the forklift operator before moving closer to the machine.
- Never assume that the driver sees you. Instead, cautiously move near the truck, so that you do not get hurt by accident.
- Always keep a safe distance from the forklift at all times.
- Never walk under the forks, even if they have nothing on them. Empty forks can still cause injury if they suddenly crash down on your head.
- Pay attention to horns indicating that the driver is coming around the corner.
- Beware of the “fall zone” for the forklift. This is based on the load that it carries. This fall zone is equal to twice the height of the load. Stay out of this area to avoid accidents, until the area is clear to move in.
- Make use of corner mirrors, if they are installed in your warehouse, to check for trucks coming your way. If there are no mirrors available, talk to the human resources department about getting them installed for safety purposes.
- Attend safety training for pedestrians provided by the employer. Training is not only for forklift operators but also for all workers in the organisation.
- Be attentive and alert. Keep your senses up at all times. Furthermore, do not wear ear protection when the decibels are tolerable. Also, never listen to music while working.
- Wear the reflective safety vest as provided by the employers.
Forklift Safety Tips For Employers
The frequency of injuries involving pedestrians can be significantly reduced with proper traffic management, along with the participation of all people in the warehouse.
- Traffic management can start by assigning a traffic controller. This may be more applicable in busy environments, but if your workplace is infested with such accidents, then this is the time to install a traffic controller.
- There must be a provision for safety vests and other safety gears. Provide the workers with luminous or reflective vests for better visibility. Those who are working in such powered industrial trucks must always wear hard hats. This is because hard hats not only protect workers from falling objects but also makes them taller and more visible for the drivers that are seated and operating the machines.
- There must be a provision for forklift accessories. Warning lights, horns as well as reverse alarms should be fitted along with the forklifts for better pedestrian safety. Install curved mirrors for a better view of the surroundings.
- Give strong emphasis to pedestrian safety during the training course. The trainer must spend more time to highlight the importance of pedestrian safety in the workplace.
- There must be proper walkways for pedestrians. There should be a separate path for foot traffic as well as a forklift route. Furthermore, employers can install steel barrier.
- Limit pedestrians from entering areas where forklift trucks are operating. During busy times, the workplace may be full of staff and merchandise; all are working together to finish the task. The safety officer must prioritise work and restrict people from entering such areas. Thus, it will improve pedestrian safety.
- Impose speed limit and penalise violators. There are still drivers despite the training they receive that do not follow the speed limit. With a combination of high speed and the great mass of the trucks, accidents are bound to happen most of the time. Hence, to refrain workers from driving at high speed, a more severe penalty should be imposed.
Maintenance and Forklift Safety
In addition to all the safety tips mentioned above, you must understand the significance of maintenance in the world of forklift safety. Having a well-maintained machine will help you to avoid accidents. Also, forklifts can last for decades if proper care is taken. However, they have to be repaired and inspected frequently. Protect your employees, your products and your investment by keeping your forklifts adequately maintained at all times.
Pedestrian safety is the responsibility of each individual that is involved. Each person has the duty of keeping himself as well as other people safe. Furthermore, employers, drivers and pedestrians have their own obligation towards each other.