For many organizations in dozens of industries, forklifts and the people who operate them are the lifeblood of what they do. However, it is also important to note that forklifts can weigh more than three tons, reach a speed of 10 mph, and can do a lot of damage if not handled properly. Which is why today, we’d like to do our due diligence and help ensure that they are, in fact, managed properly, with these helpful and handy tips for forklift operators to stay safe.
You must be qualified
While many may think to themselves, “Hey, I can do that” in reality, it takes a trained and licensed man or women to operate a forklift. It is as simple as that.
Wear appropriate clothing
Think hard hat, boots, and hi-visibility clothing. After all, in many cases, you will be lifting items and freight that is dangerously heavy, so safety should always be top of mind, and that starts with wearing the right stuff. Also, try and avoid loose-fitting clothing as it is more prone to getting caught in machinery.
Always check the equipment before each use
Before you hop on your machine for the day, it is wise to give it a once over and look for any issues before you get started. Take your time, walk around it and look for anything out of place. While this may seem like a simple step, you’ll be amazed at what you can catch and when/if you do, it could make all the difference.
Starting the forklift
Before you get moving, you always want to check a few things first. Are all your instruments and controls within arm’s reach? Are you safely and securely seated? Are your mirrors adjusted? Every time you get into your machine, you should treat it as a motor vehicle, because that is precisely what it is.
Often, when it comes to operating a forklift, the most significant potential danger doesn’t come from the driver, or the machine, but rather, the environment they find themselves in. Always be aware of your surroundings when operating, and you have the right to refuse work if the environment is unsafe. Check for spills, unsafe racking, too many people in small areas, and any other situation that could lead to possible danger.
While it can be tempting to put the peddle to the metal and have a little fun while working, it is paramount that you operate your machine at a safe speed. One of the most common causes of accidents on forklifts come from operators who were going too fast. So slow down and make sure you have the chance to work another day.
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