Employees have the task of ensuring forklift safety in distribution centers, warehouses, and other industries. Forklifts perform various important tasks although their operation comes with various risks that might cause injuries and loss of lives. A forklift handles very heavy weights and usually moves through crowded spaces that might have poor visibility. A safe workplace requires enforcing forklift safety measures regularly.
Responsibility for forklift accidents
Most times, the forklift driver is to blame for accidents in the workplace. However, about 25 percent of these accidents are caused by other factors including:
- Poor lighting
- Inadequate aisle space
- Workplace noise
- Uncoordinated pedestrian traffic
- Inadequate safety aids on the forklift
There is a possibility to avoid these factors appropriately and in a timely manner. Check out some of the things you can do to enhance forklift safety.
Take precautionary measures
Simple precautionary measures significantly limit forklift-related injuries. People below 18 years should never operate the forklift. The appropriate operators should follow safety guidelines when lifting, lowering, and staking loads. A safe driver never exceeds 5 mph and goes slower in congested areas. Additionally, the driver should drive carefully on slippery surfaces. The operator should inspect loads to ensure stability, safe arrangement, and not lifting beyond the truck’s weight capacity.
Install forklift safety lights
Poor illumination in the work environment is one of the major causes of forklift-related accidents in the workplace. A good idea is to get forklift lights to safeguard against injuries and damage. These colors come in easily noticeable colors like blue and red. This makes it easier for pedestrians to notice that a forklift is coming before it appears.
Additionally, the lights make it easier for other operators to avoid collisions. In a poorly lit workplace, the lights on a forklift enhance visibility. This makes the operator do their work faster and easier. The most significant benefit is limiting structural and property damage.
Ensuring that staff gets appropriate forklift training eliminates forklift injuries and deaths. Additionally, carry out evaluations to determine whether the employees are qualified to operate the forklift safely. The training includes instructions on appropriate vehicle operation, operational hazards, and meeting OSHA requirements regarding industrial trucks.
Not everyone offers forklift training. Get certified experts with appropriate training, knowledge, and industry experience to train your prospective forklift operators. Apart from basic instructions, periodic evaluation is required at least once every three years. This ensures that the operators still have the appropriate skills to operate the forklift to meet your workplace safety standards.
Periodic inspection and maintenance
For every shift, pre-operation inspection is necessary. This involves testing all controls and the facility manager getting aware of issues detected. All defective equipment is locked and tagged out of service. Afterward, maintenance and service are required to ensure that the trucks are restored to become used- worthy.
This maintenance is necessary for equipment health and protects operators from possible injury. Parts like damaged tires pose a significant risk to the operator. Poorly inflated tires increase the risk of the forklift running over. Keeping the tires properly inflated lessens the chances of turning over to avoid subsequent fatalities. Doing this protects your staff and related costs to manage injuries.
Ensure pedestrian safety
Not all forklift accidents are caused by operators. Therefore, sensitize all employees on appropriate pedestrian safety requirements in the midst of forklifts. Offering forklift safety training makes pedestrians in your workplace aware of the risks from an oncoming forklift. The safety manager assesses hazardous situations that might affect pedestrians and forklifts and comes up with solutions to ensure employee safety.
Unexpected turns or corners blindside pedestrians and operators making them some of the accident-prone areas in a warehouse. A simple solution can be installing safety LED lights on the forklift. The blue or red beam from these lights makes the pedestrians aware of an oncoming forklift. Enhance this by offering staff with high visibility clothing to allow noticing oncoming traffic easily regardless of the distance.
Forklifts lift heavy loads with the process requiring great precision and care. However, distractions from radios, cell phones, and industrial noise encourage accidents. It is hard to notice a pedestrian or other forklift in front when driving while on the phone. The buzz of a phone might also scare the operator while lifting heavy loads that require handling great precision. This might cause accidents leading to injuries or damage to structure and items. Discourage keeping phones while operating these trucks to avoid such problems.
Drinking and eating while operating a forklift encourages accidents. Operators need two free hands to control and maneuver the forklift properly through the aisles. Using one hand to eat lowers the operator’s ability to ensure appropriate control for unexpected circumstances. Additionally, greasy foods make it hard to handle the truck’s mechanical controls and to perform steering functions. This encourages accidents and considerable damage.
Educating employees, ensuring safety standards and regular maintenance of equipment ensures workplace forklift safety. Installing safety lights offers peace of mind that the chances of accidents are next to none.