A properly run warehouse is a safe, friendly work environment, but a warehouse where safety guidelines are not followed can be full of hazards. While there are many things in a warehouse that can cause injury if safety regulations aren’t followed, one of the most dangerous is the forklift. Forklift operators and warehouse managers need to make certain that they are following every forklift safety guideline at all times to keep their employees safe and the products they’re storing undamaged.
Make Sure all Forklift Operators are Trained
Before someone can operate a forklift, they are required to go through training and be certified on the vehicle. You need to make certain that every employee who operates a forklift has gone through training and has successfully completed training. While a forklift might seem like it would be easy to drive, it’s not as simple as it looks. Operators have to know about load placement, weight distribution, and more. Those who aren’t trained may cause an accident and hurt themselves and their co-workers.
- Do encourage employees to attend forklift safety courses.
- Don’t allow any untrained employee to drive a forklift, even if it’s just to move the vehicle a short distance.
Keep Forklift Ramps Secured and Clean
Forklift ramps are used to make it easier for forklifts to go up and down drop-offs. They help keep the loads secure on the forks and keep from jarring the operator. Any areas where there is a step down, no matter how small, need to have ramps installed.
These ramps also need to be secured so that they won’t move with the forklift (or other vehicle), plus they need to be kept clear of all obstacles. Employees may use these ramps from time to time, especially if they’re carrying large or oddly sized materials, but they should always keep clear of the ramps when someone is operating a forklift in the area.
- Do use forklift ramps whenever necessary.
- Do not let any employee leave items on or around a forklift ramp.
Watch your Aisle Width
Not all forklifts have the same turning radius. Larger vehicles are going to need more space to maneuver, which is why if you purchase a new forklift, you may find that your aisles aren’t quite wide enough for it. Instead of making do and having your forklift operators make difficult turns or other awkward maneuvers, you should consider either returning the forklift or widening the aisles. Yes, it will take some extra work, but it’s necessary for safety.
Do consider replacing older forklifts or buying additional forklifts as necessary, but make certain your warehouse aisles can accommodate them.
- Do widen aisles if necessary.
- Do not try to maneuver large forklifts through narrow aisles. It can lead to an accident.
Review Guidelines Regularly
From time to time, accidents will happen, including accidents involving a forklift. There’s no way to guarantee a 100% accident-free warehouse. When an accident does occur, make certain everyone involved understands what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.
- Do go over safety regulations when an accident happens as a refresher for all employees.
- Do not wave off an accident, especially if someone was hurt or property was destroyed.