Forklifts are complicated machines that have become a necessary tool for the materials handling industry. As forklifts become more and more prevalent, the need for increased forklift safety grows.
Forklift safety is often neglected because once we get behind the wheel, we forget that it is not a toy. This may sound silly, but it's one of the most common mistakes when using a forklift. You don't want one of your workers to injure himself because he was racing forklifts with a co-worker in the warehouse. Not only does this kind of lax mentality about forklift safety put you and your workers at risk, but it also puts your expensive equipment and supplies at risk. From both a liability perspective and a financial perspective, it is advantageous for you to implement forklift safety into your workplace training.
Below is a list of safety precautions that need to be taken when using a forklift. The list is by no means definitive, but it should act as a guide for you to build off of when implementing or reconsidering your forklift safety program.
1. Set Up A Forklift Training Program
If you don't have the resources to set up a forklift safety program in-house, make sure to have specialists come in and train your workers. You can also look into having your workers enroll in independent forklift classes. Any of the costs you incur setting up a training program will be worth it in the long run because maintaining a safe, and efficient warehouse is invaluable.
2. Do Not Play With The Forklift
This can't be overemphasized. As I mention above, one of the fundamental problems teaching forklift safety is changing the mentality of your workers. You must not treat the forklift as a toy.
3. Make Sure Forklift Operator Is Mentally and Physically Fit
Many forklift accidents occur because the forklift operator was tired or sick. You need to make sure that your forklift operators understand that it is okay to let you know if they feel too sick or too tired to properly operate the forklift. It is not worth it to let someone who isn't mentally or physically fit put himself, your workers, and your company at risk.
4. Keep Your Forklift Properly Maintained
This is another one that is often overlooked. Make sure to keep tabs on your regular forklift maintenance and repairs. While the repairs will cost you in the short term, they will be well worth it in the long run because it will help keep the forklift running smoothly and keep your warehouse safe.
5. Gather Feedback From Forklift Operators
Make sure to stay in touch with your forklift operators and listen to their concerns. They most likely have witnessed some questionable or dangerous warehouse conditions. Even if they haven't, they certainly can still provide valuable input into what needs to be covered in a forklift safety program.