10 Forklift Safety Rules
Being safe on a forklift is one of the most important rules to follow during operation. Every single year Thousands of Forklift accidents and deaths are a result of not operating a forklift safety. These accidents end up costing companies lots of money and frequently result in the forklift operator being let go. These are the 10 main safety tips you need to follow when operating a forklift.
1) Stop Rushing
A lot of forklift accidents occur due to operators rushing to make up time. Rushing leads to important steps being skipped which lead to unsafe operation. It is not worth risking injury, money, and potentially your life to make up a little bit of time. Stop rushing and don’t skip steps.
2) Check the Nameplate
When operating a forklift make sure that the load is within the parameters and placement shown on the forklift nameplate. The forklift nameplate will show how the load should be secured and what the max loading is. Forklifts often have different attachments and have different loading limits. Before operating a new forklift make sure you take a look at the nameplate to know the equipment you are working with.
3) Know the Truck
Before operating a forklift make sure that it includes the standard safety equipment mandated by OSHA. This includes the following:
- Seat Belts
- Backup Alarm
- Fire Extinguisher
- Parking Break
It is also important to take a moment to verify that the machinery is operating correctly. Test the controls, brake, alarms, check equipment attachments, and make sure the controls are operating correctly.
4) Use a Spotter
If you are unable to see behind you, use a spotter. For most companies this is standard procedure and required. Always make sure that the spotter is alert and paying attention prior to moving the forklift truck. This will prevent accidents and injuries to you and others.
5) Operation on Ramps
When traveling down ramps with a load it is safer to go backwards down it. This prevents the load from tipping over and typically the safest method. This could also potentially save your load from being dumped and thousands of dollars being wasted.
6) Do not walk underneath loads
A common safety concern seen in warehouses is people walking underneath raised forklift loads. This is a major safety concern as loads have fallen off trucks numerous times due to pallets and containers breaking. If you are underneath the forks this could be fatal as most forklift loads are in excess of 500 lbs.
7) Inspect Pallet Conditions
Always visually inspect a pallet before moving it. If the pallet seems weak or unstable get a new pallet. It is not that uncommon for wooden pallets to break apart especially if they are many years old. Pallets should not be missing any pieces. If you see a pallet that is broken set it down immediately.
8) Leaving Forklifts Unattended
This is another common issue that can lead to many safety issues. Do not leave a forklift unattended while it is running. A forklift is unattended if the forklift operator is out of visual sight or more than 25 feet away from it. If you need to leave your truck unattended put the emergency break on and turn it off.
9) Driving Safe
When driving your forklift make sure you stay within the speed limits and are stopping at all blind turns. This will make sure that no one is hit when you are operating a truck. If you hit someone while operating a forklift it is the operator’s fault even if the person is in a place they shouldn’t be.
10) Truck maintenance
When you are done with your shift or operating the forklift make sure it is being maintained. This may include charging the battery, placing the emergency brake, and placing the keys where they belong. This also includes leaving the truck in a designated location set by company standards. Trucks should always be ready for the next operator to use them.