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Keeping Your Warehouse Safe: Forklifts

Forklifts are very powerful tools with a number of uses. One person operating a forklift can lift and place many large heavy loads with much precision and very little effort, and can help prevent back injuries. However, did you know that forklifts are actually a significant cause of accidents in the United States? Warehouse owners should provide their workers with safety tips to ensure employee safety. Here are some safety tips for forklift operation.

  • Inspect the forklift beforehand. An inspection should occur every day by the operator of the forklift. No matter what safety protocol you follow, if the vehicle itself is not operating properly, the risks increase exponentially. You should know if the horn is working, if anything is leaking or posing a fire hazard, and if the tires are at proper pressure.
  • Wear your seat belt. You may think that because a forklift is so sturdy, you do not need a seat belt. This could not be further from the truth. If the vehicle tips over, then the person inside could be thrown out and crushed unless he or she is wearing a seat belt, which will keep him or her inside the vehicle and protected by the sturdy frame of the forklift.
  • Never load the forklift beyond its rated capacity. The best thing to do for your safety is to prevent the forklift from tipping over in the first place. The number one reason that a forklift might tip over with someone inside of it is that it has been front loaded with an excess of weight, which is highly unsafe. Additionally, it can be harder to firmly secure a load that is heavier than it should be, which can cause even further safety hazards.
  • Drive slowly and carefully. You may be very accustomed to driving a car, but you need to know that forklifts operate very differently than normal automobiles. For example, most forklifts steer from the rear of the vehicle, which causes the back of the forklift to turn widely. Driving, turning, and stopping should all happen slowly and with much care and attention. Turning or stopping suddenly can cause the vehicle to lose balance, especially when it is carrying a heavy load. Additionally, ramps and inclines should be driven on with even greater care and attention.

Driving a forklift can pose some concerns, but can also be extremely useful for working with large objects and loads. Just make sure you follow the right protocol for optimum safety of operation.