8 Tips to Stay Safe When Operating a Forklift in a Warehouse

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Forklifts are an integral part of any warehouse, so it is imperative that every staff member, not just operators, are aware of the safety measures that must be taken when they are in use. In this two-part Workker Safety Series, we are looking at the steps that should be used to ensure a safe environment in any warehouse operation where Forklifts are present.

1 – Pre-shift inspection: The inspection gives the operator an opportunity to identify any issues that can otherwise hinder the machine’s performance. Check for issues with the brakes, lights, horn, tires and steering wheel.
2 – Drive at a safe speed: Always operate the forklift at a safe and controlled speed, especially when there is a load on the forks. Always slow down when approaching corners or junctures in the warehouse to avoid tipping or collision.
3 – Load capacity: It’s extremely important to never go over the forklift’s load capacity. If the forklift is over the weight limit, it will become unbalanced and tip over. This can cause injury to the operator and any other warehouse staff that might be in the vicinity.
4 – Forks: Always make sure the forks are kept low to the ground, around 5 to cm from the floor, the same height as a wood pallet. If the forks are too high, this can be a safety issue as they can potentially hit someone in the head or the torso.
5 - Pedestrian Awareness: Be on the lookout for other employees in the warehouse. Always use your horn when turning corners or crossings so that others are aware of you as well. Employees should be aware when a forklift is approaching the space they are working in by the sound indicators from the lift.
6 – Safe Loading: One of the biggest causes of accidents in warehouse are a result of unsafe, unsecured, and unbalanced loads. Always make sure that the load is tilted slightly back toward the vehicle and to use ropes or straps to secure the load when necessary.
7 – No Rides: Forklifts are not designed to carry passengers and therefore doing this can be extremely unsafe. An extra person on the vehicle will cause an uneven weight distribution and can make the machine unstable and may cause it to tip over. Having another person on the forklift with you can also cause reduced visibility making it difficult to see obstacles in your path.
8 – Visibility: When operating a forklift, you should always maintain a clear 360-degree view. If your view is blocked in the front, you should operate the forklift in reverse and use a spotter on the ground.

For more information about Forklift safety or to find a job as an operator, contact us today.

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