8 Safety Tips for Driving and Operating a Forklift

The world is full of different goods and products that people need (and want). Therefore, distributers are needed to move the products out of facilities. Trucks, ships, and planes carry these goods the biggest distance, but forklifts (and other heavy equipment) are often used to load pallets of these goods. Listed below are eight safety tips to keep in mind while operating a forklift:

1. Wear the proper clothing

Forklift operators should avoid wearing loose clothing, as the fabric could get caught in the machine or trigger controls. In addition, operators should also wear the proper safety attire including a high-visibility vest or jacket, protective footwear, and hard hats.

2. Inspect equipment

Since a lot can happen between loads, people should inspect the equipment for damages. Equipment that needs repair should never be operated, and only qualified technicians should do the repairs.

3. Clear the work area

Operators should be certain the stay within the pre-designated areas and clear any obstructions from the work space.

4. Secure the load

Forklift operators will want to avoid breaking the equipment or losing a load, so they should be sure that the load is secure and doesn’t exceed the weight capacity. Operators should use pallets and skids that properly support the load, keep the load on both forks, and tie down the load when necessary.

5. Use the forklift to carry loads, not people

Unless there is a second seat fitted to the forklift, only one person should drive it at a time. The forks should also not be used to lift people.

6. Maintain proper speeds

Operators should maintain slow speeds when moving the forklift and travel slowly around bends and corners. (Going around corners too quickly could cause the forklift to tip over.) Additionally, people should avoid making sudden stops and starts.

7. Avoid hazards

Hitting bumps, holes, and stray objects could cause damage to the load, or, at the very least, loss of control. Forklift operators should use caution when moving around these work hazards. They should be especially careful if the floor is wet and use the horn to alert fellow workers of their presence.

8. Remain alert when driving

Operators should remain aware of their surroundings and always watch where they’re going. They should keep the forks lowered (but off the ground) when moving and keep an eye out for pedestrians.
Forklifts can drastically reduce the amount of work necessary for loading large numbers of goods. (They can also be useful for moving large objects in a facility.) However, operating these machines carelessly could result in more work. Most importantly, people should use the proper safety techniques when operating forklifts to prevent injury.

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