National forklift safety day is celebrated each year during the second week of June. This yearly event focuses on promoting safety among forklift manufacturers that can reinforce the significance of forklift safety practices and operator safety training. Forklift safety is a continuous learning experience. As a business owner, you need to ensure that your forklift operators acquire their training as per OSHA requirements. A forklift is a piece of heavy machinery that needs to be operated with extreme care and safety in mind. Once your employees have their forklift operator training certification, it is time to get started. In the spirit of the national forklift day, let us look at some strategies and best practices for forklift operators to help you perform well while keeping safety in mind.
Best practices to ensure forklift safety
- OSHA advises that a forklift operator must be over 18 years of age.
- You should focus on creating an exhaustive training schedule for your new employees and schedule regular training routines for existing employees. This training needs to include:
- Regular evaluations and test
- Practical education that stresses safety tips
- Formal instruction that keeps the specifications of the forklift in mind
- Be familiar with the capacity ratings for your forklift before driving it. Forklifts have a particular rating that shows the maximum weight that the machine can handle. Ensure that you keep the weight limitations in mind and post them clearly on your forklift. You need to instruct your operators to stick to these limitations.
- Forklifts are furnished with warning signals and backup buzzers since many times it could be hard to check around loads. You should train your employees to hear for any audible warning signals.
- Maintain your distance and stay alert if you are not using the forklift. Train your employees to hold a reasonable space away from any immediate area that has working forklifts.
- A forklift operator needs to remember to slow down. Many forklifts come with several options to help you in limiting your speed. This is an excellent idea that you must add to the to-do list of your operator. Clearly instruct the maximum speed of using the forklift to your operators and strictly enforce these regulations.
- All surfaces around the forklift must be clear, safe for operators, and free from any debris.
Strategies for potential forklift safety improvement
You need to pay special attention to improving the safety of your forklift operations. There are some effective strategies that you can follow to greatly enhance safety. However, keep in mind that the unique needs of your business and the structure of your operation dictates your safe practices. You need to analyze the safety requirements of your warehouse before you make any significant changes.
- Keep your forklifts and pedestrians separate as much as possible. You should employ different aisles for material flow and pedestrian passageways.
- Use barriers and guards. Physical barriers ensure that material handling equipment and pedestrians do not contact each other.
- Avoid narrow, tall aisles whenever possible. Height could offer you more efficient storage. However, you need to ensure that your operators and forklifts can easily work with these changes.
- Do not obstruct any doors and intersections.
- Eliminate any unnecessary noise pollution. Avoid a situation where the pedestrians and operators are unable to hear each other.
- Eliminate poor lighting. Pedestrians and operators need to be able to each other properly whenever feasible.
- Avoid changing the floor surfaces or installing high-grade ramps. Each of these could provide potential hazards that can lead to an accident when forklifts are in operation.
Understand the capacities of your forklift to maximize safety
Your forklift has a capacity rating which is essentially the maximum weight that your forklift can carry around safely at a particular load center. If the forks of your machine are not fitted at that specific load center, if you have added attachments to your forklift, or if your mast type has changed, your forklift will not maneuver that load safely.
You need to remember the following things to avoid exceeding the maximum capacity of your forklift:
- Purchase a forklift that has a higher capacity than the limit of load that you will have to carry to avoid exceeding it.
- Use a specific scale to measure the load that you are carrying to ensure that you have a check on the capacity limit.
- Your forklift operators need to be properly trained so they can understand the difference between the capacity rating displayed on your data plate and the model number of the forklift.
- Ensure that your data plate is readable and always stays in place.
- Confirm with your forklift specialist to ensure that you are employing the proper forklift for your required application.
Improper forklift operations can result in accidents or even damage the equipment, facilities, and other products. More and more companies these days are becoming more mindful of enforcing safety regulations to protect both the employees and the equipment. You need to follow any OSHA regulations and adopt strict training regulations and rules at your organization to prevent such accidents. By keeping some safety regulations and best practices in mind, you can help your forklift operators greatly improve their efficiency and stay safe.