Forking out Safety: Forklift Safety

Anyone who works in an industrial environment which utilizes the help of forklifts knows that they can be both a blessing and a curse. Even though forklifts make hauling and transporting heavy items much easier and faster, they also create some pretty hefty safety hazards as well. In order to run a truly effective and safe forklift operation, it is imperative that certain safety guidelines be observed and followed by forklift drivers.

Since forklifts are such an integral component of many work environments, it would be completely absurd to eliminate them due to their potential safety hazards. Instead, the hazards associated with forklifts can be greatly reduced by following the below 10 forklift safety rules a driver must follow.

10 Forklift Safety Rules

While there are many other forklift safety rules that are pertinent to forklift drivers, these are some of the top rules that should always be followed and taken into consideration. When forklift drivers transport loads safely, it enhances the safety for everyone else in the workplace as well.

1. Go a Safe Speed – A safe forklift speed is a speed that is reasonable and prudent to the work environment. The faster a forklift travels, the more the risk increases for injury if a collision was to occur.

2. Avoid Abrupt Stops – It is important that forklift drivers stop with ease, versus just sudden breaking. Abrupt stops can compromise the safety of the load as well as anyone in close proximity to the load as well.

3. Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way – Just like when traveling in a motor vehicle, a forklift driver should always be aware of pedestrians and give them the right of way.

4. Don’t Pick Up Other Riders – Almost all forklifts are designed for driver riders only, unless the forklift has been specifically designed to accommodate an additional rider. Never allow additional riders to board the forklift, this can create an unstable balance and also block the driver’s line of view.

5. Be Aware of Fork Position – The position of the forks is crucial when driving a forklift. The forks should always be positioned as low as possible (but high enough to clear bumps) when traveling throughout the work facility.

6. Keep Load Level Stationary when in Motion – Never raise or lower loads on the forks while the forklift is in motion. This limits the stability of the load and may cause an unsafe imbalance.

7. Slow Down and Sound Horn at Corners – Corners are often one of the most hazardous areas for forklift traffic due the natural inability to see around a corner before approaching it. In order to reduce the occurrence of corner-related forklift accidents, forklifts drivers should always reduce speed and sound the horn upon the approach of a corner.

8. Keep Right – Many people have a natural instinct to stay right when driving forklift because in the U.S. we also drive motor vehicles and stay to the right as well. However, sometimes it is possible to forget this rule and veer to the middle or even to the left, this becomes a safety hazard as pedestrians or other forklifts may be utilizing the other oncoming lane.

9. Watch Out for Blind Spots – Unfortunately, many workplaces have blind spots in their facilities. These are spots where it is hard to see into unless you are in the blind spot, then it is hard to see out of or around it. Forklift drivers should always exercise extra caution when approaching or entering these areas.

10. Keep Alert to Floor Condition – This is something that is easily overlooked by many forklift drivers. However, grease spots or spills are very dangerous to a forklift driver with a load in transport as they may cause the forklift to slide or slip and lose traction to the floor.

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