Forklifts were the cause of almost 8,000 nonfatal workplace injuries in 2018. The biggest reason for injury is the failure to check the forklift before the operation or incorrect operation when moving loads.
Scheduling forklift services ensure that your forklift is always in good condition and ready for use. Learning how to operate a forklift will help you understand the risks and avoid them when traveling or load handling.
This guide will be your beginner’s guide to safe forklift operation.
Before you begin operating a forklift, you need to do a pre-operation check. OSHA guidelines outline forklift safety and state that an inspection should occur after each shift. This inspection includes a visual inspection before turning the forklift on and a second operational inspection once the engine is running.
During these inspections, you’ll check fluid levels, hoses, chains, tires, and guards.
How to Operate a Forklift
Driving a forklift is not like driving a car. Start by always having a clear view around you. This will prevent collisions, falling loads, or bodily injuries. Always look int he direction you plan to travel.
Just because you can travel at a certain speed doesn’t mean you should. Slower is always better. It will give you plenty of time to react and steer your forklift.
Changing direction poses a greater risk. Stop completely before you change direction. Use your horn or lights as a signaled warning to others that you are moving in reverse.
Never engage in horseplay or carry a passenger on the forklift forks. Always keep your limbs inside the forklift during operation.
Never try to move loads that are loose, damaged, off-center, or over packed. These are dangerous and put you at greater risk of damage.
When picking up a load, approach slowly and center the forklift. Try to position the heaviest part of the load towards the forklift wheels if it isn’t off-centered. Never try to pick up a load that is heavier than the forklift’s maximum weight capacity.
When raising or lowering your load, always check the clearance before moving the load. This applies to both lifting and lowering the load. Use the mast and its tilting function to stabilize the load when moving it.
Your biggest risk when moving loads is tipping over. This is when the weight of the forklift or load become off-center and cause the forklift to tip over onto its side.
Maintenance Forklift Services
To ensure that your forklift is always ready for use when you need it, you need to perform forklift services. There are three steps you can take.
- Regular inspections
- Create a maintenance schedule
- Address problems early
This will prevent break downs, extend your forklift’s useful life, and prevent additional damage when something does break.
Operate a Forklift Safely
By following these driving tips and scheduling regular maintenance and repair services, you’ll always know how to operate a forklift safely. This will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
Browse our other business articles for the best and safest operational practices.