Six Steps to Ensuring Forklift Safety

forklift in warehouseIf your operations include forklifts, your need for safety precautions is intensified.

Here are six steps to help ensure safe forklift operations in your workplace or job site.

The Need for Forklift Safety 

The requirement to operate a forklift is a very important, given there are over 1 million forklifts operating on loading docks, in warehouses and other workplace settings across North America. This is a significant number of operating units and a large number of potential safety risks.

What is equally surprising is the possibility of a fatal injury when a forklift is involved in an overturn accident.

Forklift Safety Training

forklift backing upThe overarching step in safe operation of forklifts is the proper training in the risks, the functional operation and the rules of movement in and around the workplace.

Since a forklift is a form of industrial vehicle, it is important to note, as a matter of compliance, that are there also federal and provincial training standards that must be met.

Training on the operation of a forklift starts with an awareness of the risks involved. Next, is in-depth training on the basic operation and safety guidelines, along with the rules that cover safe movement within the workplace

Apply the Training Daily

An important application of the training is to make risk awareness an everyday activity.

forklift loading onto truckSupervisors and forklift operators should maintain an awareness of safety risks, and communicate the importance of safe operation every working day. This awareness and continuous effort for safety should continue after the training sessions and always be aware of some common risks.

  • Always secure loads
  • Avoid imbalanced loads that may cause the forklift to tip over
  • Avoid operation of a forklift by an untrained worker

This is a good start in the right direction of forklift safety.

Load the Forklift Properly

It is important to avoid overloading the forklift to avoid an overturn accident.

Load balance is essential to safe operation. The forks should always be as far under the load as to adequately balance the load during the actual lift. Proper load includes every effort to keep in the load a relatively low position and drive in reverse in situations, where the load may block the forward view.

Stay in the Correct Lanes

forklift carrying pallettes

Proper forklift movement within the workplace is designated with safety color codes for marking various hazards.

It is important for continued safety to operate the forklift in the designated areas and pay attention to areas colored for specific risks.

As an example, lanes/sections colored Red are to designate fire-related hazards; Yellow often designates caution for other physical hazards.

Forklift Traffic Control

An important safety step is to make sure Forklift “traffic” is controlled by controls to include stop signs and speed limits.

The concept of traffic control applies to all those in the workplace to be alert to potential risks of forklift operation and workers nearby.

Forklift Equipment Maintenance

A forklift is an important workplace vehicle and must be in proper working order to ensure safe operations can continue.

Forklifts come in engine variations of both electric and gas powered and require regular maintenance. The lifts should be inspected to ensure reliable performance and avoid any mechanical breakdown that may lead to an accident or spill.

How ACT Can Help

Given the potential for serious injury to forklift operators and others in the workplace, it is important to have an awareness of these essential forklift safety risks and accident prevention steps.

Advanced Consulting & Training offers forklift safety training and certification courses. To find out more, browse our course offerings starting from the side of this page.

Contact us today to find out more about how ACT can help you.