Forklifts are a great and powerful tool that almost every warehouse and loading bay count on to get their work done.
But with great power comes great responsibility.
Used incorrectly, a forklift can cause damage to itself, to your product, and worse, to people. In fact, over 100 people are killed every year by forklifts. Forklift safety is no joke. These are fatalities that could be avoided entirely if proper usage was followed.
Because of this, we thought we would lay out some standard forklift safety tips and guidance to help increase accountability in your warehouse.
Safety Tips for Forklifts
Avoid Tipping Over
Sound obvious, right? No one wants to tip their forklift over, but about a quarter of forklift deaths are a result of tipping over. How can you avoid tipping over?
1. Don’t Overload
Every forklift has a weight limit, and they have one for a reason. By overloading your forklift, you may think you’re saying time and work, but in reality, you’re greatly increasing the chances of tipping over.
2. Buckle Up
Seatbelts aren’t just for cars. In case of tipping over, a seatbelt can prevent you from being thrown out of the forklift and potentially being crushed. When you’re around forklifts, the safest place to be is inside.
3. Take Your Turns Slow
Forklifts can be a little top-heavy. When you’re carrying a load up in the air, they can become extremely top heavy. Warehouses and storage areas tend to have narrow passages and tight turns. Take these turns as slow as possible to avoid tipping over.
4. Mind the Gap (and Edges)
When you’re using a forklift around loading docks, over dock plates, or on forklift ramps, make sure to watch the edges. Driving into a gap could cause the forklift to become unbalanced and fall over. And obviously driving a forklift off an edge of a ramp is incredibly dangerous.
Watch Out for People on Foot (and Their Feet)
When you’re carrying a load of product in front of you, it can be hard to see where you’re going and what’s in your way. Always make sure to be cautious of the people around you, and stay as far away from them as possible. Running into them or running over their feet will guarantee a hospital visit, and no one wants that.
Check the Load
Always make sure that when you’re picking up a load, it’s squarely in front of you. If it’s on the pallet, make sure it’s stable and secure. Also make sure that the pallet is in good condition. A broken pallet can result in your product falling to the ground and being damaged.
Watch the Top
Look out for hanging structures, doorways, light fixtures, sprinklers, etc. It can be easy to ignore what’s above you and accidently clip something.
Be Mindful of Who’s Driving
Just because everyone wants to drive the forklift doesn’t mean everyone should. Only have people driving who are properly trained and responsible. When a person is driving a forklift, they become responsible for themselves, the forklift, the items they’re carrying, and the people around them.
That’s a lot to be held accountable for. Make sure they’re worthy.