Today, June 11th is National Forklift Safety Day. Our friends at Hyster & Yale put together this excellent poster running down the top things to remember before entering a worksite, during the initial lift truck inspection/set-up, and after you’ve started up the machine. That poster is available on Hyster's website, but we’ve also condensed them as ten things to remember as you get Ready, Set and Go!
- Complete Training & Wear Safety Clothing
Only trained and certified operators may use lift trucks to avoid both physical and financial liabilities. In addition, wearing work clothes, safety vests, and protective devices are an essential addition for any worksite to prevent unnecessary injuries.
2. Complete Pre-Operation Inspection
Inspecting the lift truck before starting work may often feel like a redundant task, but catching any significant problems ahead of time before ever entering the vehicle, assures that you’ll avoid major mechanical issues and accidents.
3. Wear the Seat Belt & Take No Riders
One of the easiest safety measures is fastening your seat belt before operating the lift truck and once you’re moving, being sure to keep the number of riders on the lift truck limited to just one, the operator.
- Watch Your Speed & Keep Forks Low
Always observe worksite rules for safe operation and keep the lift truck at an appropriate speed with the forks no higher than a foot from the floor. Never travel or turn with the forks elevated or tilted forward, which in combination with a safe speed assures any fatal collisions are less likely to occur.
2. Use Suitable Pallets, Ensure Stable Loads & Know Load Weights
Knowing the specifics of the load you’ll be carrying, as well as the pallet set-up is key to a successful move with a pallet truck. Additionally, taking the time to assure that the load is organized and balanced, even utilizing ropes or binders if necessary, will assist in avoiding any mishaps as you move from point A to point B.
3. Avoid Hazards, Keep Clear of the Mast & Pay Attention to Special Loads
To most these probably seem like a no brainer, but when you’re in the driver's seat, it can be easy to forget. Make sure to avoid driving over objects, keep any and all appendages away from the mast or chains, and lastly with an extra wide load, be sure it stays balanced and proceed slowly to avoid collisions.
1. Keep a Clear View & Stay in Designated Lanes
Once you’re moving, be sure to keep the following in mind; stay in designated driving areas, make slow turns to avoid tipping, maintain brake contact when approaching pedestrians or corners, and get a clear view whenever vision is obstructed.
2. When Other People Are Involved
There will be times when you’ll need the assistance of or have a need to interact with other employees while operating a lift truck. First, stop to speak to pedestrians and always maintain at minimum a two-foot distance, next always make eye contact and use hand signals to communicate, with “stop” and “go ahead” being the most used in the workplace. When assistance is needed, especially in narrow spaces, always keep the helper insight and follow those same hand signals throughout the process.
3. Back Up With Care & Watch Your Height
Always look in the direction your traveling and be aware of potential obstructions that may cause your lift truck to wedge in place.
4. Don’t Use Fork Tips
Lastly, fork tips should never be used as a lever to raise, push, or pull a heavy load; this can potentially damage the forks or load in the process.
There you have it, 10 Safety Tips to keep in mind when operating a forklift in the worksite, brought to you by our friends at Hyster & Yale on National Forklift Safety Day. To get a free Hyster branded poster of these tips for use in the workplace, click the link below, and if you’re interested in adding to your fleet of forklifts and other warehouse vehicles, be sure to contact your local Papé Material Handling location to schedule a consultation.