Forklift Safety 101: What to Know Before Getting Started
Whether you’re new to the industrial industry or a veteran worker, forklift safety should be top-of-mind in any production role. While training and onboarding programs typically cover safety practices in the workplace, it’s important you stay well educated and informed about how to properly maneuver and use a forklift on the job. Knowing these basics of forklift operation can also be beneficial for those working in the same space as forklift operators.
To prevent serious injuries and fatalities, take note of these key safety practices for operating any type of forklift.
As the operator of a forklift, you must understand how to manage the risks of the forklift in motion, especially in the event the vehicle turns over or moves in an unintended direction. Forklifts are very different from regular vehicles and must be treated with a specialized type of focus and attention. For example, if a forklift overturns, the operator should be in the cabin with their seatbelt tightly fastened to avoid being thrown from the machine. When operating the forklift, it’s important to always hold on tightly and lean in the opposite direction of the overturn.
Understanding Speed and Stopping Distances
A forklift’s brakes are much less reactive than those of a typical vehicle. Therefore, you must take extra care and precaution to ensure you stop the forklift in the right amount of time to avoid accidents. You’ll want to take note of the speed limit enforced in your workplace, while also taking into account braking distances and emergency stopping distances when planning and managing forklift travel paths.
Getting On or Off Safely
Many forklift-related accidents occur when operators are getting on or off the forklift, often resulting in back and neck injuries. As you get on or off, be sure to step firmly on the forklift’s steps and use the hand rails to hoist yourself properly. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the forklift before operating it and make sure you feel comfortable getting in or out of the vehicle with ease.
Interested in a Forklift Operator Position?
Adhering to the forklift safety practices outlined above will allow you maintain the highest degree of safety for yourself and others in your industrial work environment. By following these practices, you’ll reduce your risk of injury (and the injury of others) and feel more confident operating forklifts on the job. If you feel you would be a great fit as a forklift operator or work in another industrial position, contact your local On Time Staffing team and find your next opportunity.