How To Operate a Forklift Safely
As the year is coming to a close, chances are we have all been thinking of resolutions for the new year. Year in and year out, at Alberta Lift safety is a top priority. In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of some easy ways that you can ensure you are safely operating your forklift. Safety never goes out of style.
Before Operating the Lift
Safety considerations for operating a forklift begin well before the forklift is put into action. First, it is essential that any operator of heavy machinery has the proper qualifications and training. Second, the operator needs to dress for the job. Proper attire, like close toed shoes, a hard-hat, and ensuring that you have no loose garments that could get caught in the machinery will contribute greatly to the overall safety of the operation. Adding a high-visibility jacket to this list is another recommended step.
Then, a cursory examination of the equipment should be performed before using it, to ensure that everything is in order. Earlier this month, we shared an article regarding forklift maintenance, which provides a list of routine maintenance checks. Maintenance checks are a very important component of safe forklift operations. Make sure that the brakes are working and also check that the lights on the dashboard are functional. These lights are important since they are your first warning if something is faulty or in need of repair.
Now, the operator can survey the worksite and familiarize themselves with the particular landscape where they will be working, identifying any potential risks.
While Using the Forklift
When preparing to use the forklift, the operator should first attach their seat-belt and then they can adjust the mirrors and controls to their comfort. While operating the forklift, it is important that the operator remains aware of their surroundings at all times. The operator should be scanning the environment for potential dangers or safety hazards. This way they can avoid bumps, potentially slippery surfaces and other loose objects. It is also key to remain aware of clearance heights and maximum permitted floor loadings.
Of course, maintaining clear visibility is the key to ensuring that the operator can keep a close eye on their surroundings. If operating the forklift in reverse will improve visibility, this is one course of action that can be taken. But note that it should not be reversed up a ramp. Moreover, if there is a poor visibility situation, another worker should step in as a lookout, to assist the driver in the maneuver.
While driving, the operator should always obey the speed limit. Going slowly around corners can reduce the risk of dangerously tipping the forklift. It is also important that pedestrian passageways are both established and respected. When turning a corner or entering and exiting the facility, the horn should be sounded to alert other works and avoid collisions. While the forklift is in operation it is very important that the load is secured and that it will be stable the whole time it is being transported. Forklifts should only be used as they were intended; for instance, operators should never accept people riding on the forklift and the forklift shouldn’t be overloaded, both of which can cause dangerous accidents.
With these tips for safe operation, hopefully you’ll have your safest year yet in 2017. Happy New Year!
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