You cannot deny that a forklift is one, if not the most, powerful construction and transport tool that enables workers, business owners and service providers to move, store and organize their materials and inventory in the most efficient, fuel-saving and safe manner. Provided that the owners of the forklifts do what is required of them by the machine’s manufacturers, the forklift can generate tremendous productivity and returns in whatever endeavor that the owner decides to partake in.
It also goes without saying that the business operators of such forklifts must make it imperative to properly train the technicians or drivers of forklifts with all the safety precautions and training modules that come with the forklift. Otherwise, the drivers get more exposed to accidents, resulting in personal injuries that can be avoided, damage to property and products, and even loss of life.
In fact, it could be said that with the proper training for these operators, such accidents would have been avoided since most of these accidents can be attributed to lack of proper training and driver error.
Most Common Risks
It should be noted here that among the many risks entailed in operating a forklift, the most common risk of injury or death among forklift operators would be lack of training. When the operator had not been properly trained, especially in the principles of physics that relate to lifting and moving heavy loads, accidents recur. There’s an added injury, too, when the operator is unfamiliar with how a particular type of forklift run or operates. Operating the forklift mindlessly is another cause of injury most commonly observed in business establishments. Additionally, when business operators are using a forklift with a malfunctioning or missing parts, it can expose the driver to more injurious situations.
An added reminder for business operators regarding forklift safety would be from the Federal OSHA. This authority or governing body states that accidents and product damage today have already decreased significantly because of proper safety training and forklift maintenance. The diligence and vigilantly keen attention given by business operators to their management system in terms of monitoring forklift safety have indeed resulted to lower the casualties and risk exposure of operators.
Over the last several years, it has been observed, too, that the operators’ way of understanding how the equipment basically works and the physics of moving the loads is another great factor that’s improved the safety rating of workplaces that engage in forklifts.
The Importance of Proper Training
To sum up all the advice on forklift safety based on personal and workplace experiences, it can be said that the number one preventive way to avoid accidents in the workplace would be holistic training. It cannot be stressed enough that with the proper training, a business can ensure that the forklift operators can protect themselves from unnecessary expenses caused by accidents. There can also be increased proficiency, increased equipment life and lower costs for downtime when operators and business owners make it a company policy to let the employees comply with best practices of forklift operations.
The first of these best practices would be ensuring that the driver of the forklift is always wearing a seatbelt. The operator can also lower the likelihood of injuries during forklift operations when they are operating or driving at safe speeds. You can avoid damage to equipment and property, too, when you ensure that the driver is able to sound the horn when driving around blind spots, as well as when the operator is backing up or near the end of aisles.
You can get the operator to avoid accidents, too, when you ensure that the load of the forklift doesn’t go beyond its limit. When transporting a load, one should check whether the load is about 6” to 10” off of the floor. Ensuring if there’s a block to the driver’s visibility is another way to protect the driver from barriers or incoming intrusion. In addition, when the operator uses a spotter when the load is transported all over the workplace, it improves the safety rating of the driver.
As a summary, the companies that make it a policy for their employees to comply with the standards and guidelines above can expect even more safety protection than companies that disregard a quick observation of the aforementioned criteria.
Additional Guidelines To Improve The Workplace Facility’s Safety and Efficiency Performance
The first of the most important tips that workplaces should learn before engaging with forklifts would be proper management. A good management plan for any workplace would have to commit to a comprehensive concept of safe operation. If there’s a good plan and employees comply with the management’s attitude towards safety, productivity will rise and exposure to risk will decrease.
The second thing to add in the list of preventive measures would be to implement an approved OSHA Safety Training Program that not only includes the regulations and concepts prioritized by OSHA, but guides operators to understand the need to safely engage with the equipment without putting the driver at any unnecessary risk.
As a third tip, hands-on driver training should be mandatory in the workplace. A certified professional should handle the training of a person to operate the forklift and not just for an initial training session. The training should be comprehensive, run for a long period of time to cover all the areas of a forklift, and should come with a professional overseeing the trainee by their side, instructing the new operator with all the nuances and details in running a forklift safely and fuel-efficiently.
There has to be an opportunity, too, for the driver to operate the forklift or handling equipment while not under pressure for the driver to really learn to rack and unload the trailer in the most stable state. It is important that the new driver has to be given an adequate amount of time to learn the whole wide areas of equipment.
The fourth tip in this area would be to ensure that the operators are properly trained with routine maintenance checks before each shift, as mandated by the OSHA. The right training would also ensure that the forklift is clean and serviced, and fine-tuned correctly to its proper shape. A piece of good equipment like a forklift can last longer when they are maintained regularly and properly.
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