Operating a forklift is a job that requires thorough training due to the dangerous nature of forklifts and the environments they operate within. Once you move on from training to driving, it’s easy to get too comfortable and forget certain rules. That’s why you always have to keep these must-know safety tips for forklift operators in mind when you’re in the field.
Practice Safe Parking Techniques
You’d think safe parking just means pulling into the parking spot and turning the vehicle off, but it’s more complicated than that. A forklift operator can’t just leave the vehicle sitting around anywhere. You have to leave it in the area specifically meant for forklift parking. Plus, you always have to make sure to pull the e-brake before you exit a forklift. This extra step may seem odd to folks who are new to forklifts, but it’s a necessary safety measure.
Many of you have probably had to run into a friend’s house quickly, so you left your car running on their driveway. It’s a common practice, but it cannot happen when you’re driving a forklift. Leaving a forklift unattended with the keys in the ignition is not only reckless, but it’s also illegal.
Pay Attention to Designated Work Zones
Areas in a workplace where forklifts come and go must be made clear with the help of signs and floor markings in accordance with OSHA guidelines. If you’re operating a forklift and wander off from the marked work zone, you can collide with an unsuspecting pedestrian. Forklift operators also must be alert in work zones because, if the opposite scenario occurs and a pedestrian wanders into the area, you need to have sharp attention and reflexes to avoid disaster.
Don’t Exceed Your Lifting Capacity
We’ve all had that moment while packing a suitcase or putting groceries in the back of your car when we say “Just one more!” and squeeze one last melon or T-shirt inside. That is a principle you must strongly avoid when loading your forklift. Each forklift has a data panel at the front that lists several important facts about the forklift, including its lifting capacity. If you put too much weight onto your forklift, it can cause the load to fall off while you’re driving.
Exceeding the forklift’s lifting capacity can even cause the entire vehicle to topple over in some cases. These accidents can lead to injuries and even deaths, so take the time before each ride to make sure your load is safe and secure on the forklift.
These must-know safety tips for forklift operators aren’t the only rules you need to know when driving the vehicle, but they are three of the most important to prevent injuries in the workplace. Driving a forklift may seem easy to someone who has yet to enter the field, but it’s quite the opposite. Operating a forklift takes a lot of attention, precision, and energy if you want to do it right.