Forklifts are some of the most common pieces of equipment in a warehouse, capable of moving large, heavy pallets of products across the workspace in a short amount of time. Despite their convenience and efficiency though, these machines can prove to be dangerous without the right safety protocol in place. In the tips below, we will go over some forklift safety tips for drivers and pedestrians so you can keep every person in your warehouse as safe as possible.
Forklift Safety Tips for Drivers
Perhaps the most obvious tip here is to only allow licensed, qualified workers to operate forklifts. Some forklifts require special training to operate, so make sure that you only allow the right employees to handle each task in your distribution center. With the right men and women behind the wheel, you can apply these forklift safety tips for operators:
- Adjust driving speeds based location, flooring texture, and the number of people in an area. Efficiency is important, but safety is even more important.
- Honk the horn while turning blind corners to warn people you are coming.
- Never use a cell phone while operating a forklift.
- Slow down for corners, intersections, ramps, and other areas with high collision risks.
- Watch out for spills and wet surfaces while driving, and avoid puddles of liquid when possible.
- Do not allow people to ride with you the forklift.
- Report all forklift accidents immediately.
- If you notice any issues with the forklift’s operations, report them to your supervisor so the machine can undergo maintenance and repair.
- Lower the forks to the ground before parking.
- Park the forklift in a safe area, out of the way of other machines and workers.
- Leave ample space between your machine and other forklifts while driving down the aisles. If there is not enough room for two machines, wait until the area is clear to move in.
If your drivers can follow these rule and other safety regulations you have in place for your business, you will be able to avoid a number of accidents in the workplace.
Forklift Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Just because you’re not operating a forklift doesn’t mean you can act however you want around it. Non-operating employees need to practice safety around forklifts just as much as the drivers do. Employ these safety measures in your warehouse:
- Maintain a safe distance from the forklift at all times.
- Make eye contact with the forklift operator before moving close to the machine.
- Do not assume that the driver sees you. Instead, move with caution near the forklift so you do not get hurt accident.
- Never walk under the forks of the forklift, even if they have nothing them. Empty forks can still cause damage if they suddenly crash down your head.
- Listen for horns indicating that the forklift driver is coming around the corner.
- Use corner mirrors, if they are installed in your warehouse, to check for machines coming your way. If there are no mirrors in place, talk to the human resources department about getting them installed for safety.
- Beware of the “fall zone” for the forklift. This is based the load it is carrying. The fall zone is equal to twice the height of the carried load, going all the way around the machine in a circle. Stay out of this area to avoid injury. Until the area is clear to move in.
Maintenance and Forklift Safety
In addition to all the tips listed above, you must understand the importance of maintenance in the world of forklift safety. Having a well-maintained machine will help you avoid accidents that occur from faulty operations. Forklifts can last for decades with proper care, but they have to be repaired and inspected regularly for that to happen. Protect your employees, your products, and your investment by keeping your forklifts maintained at all times.