Within most businesses there is usually some type of machinery that is present in order to help assist workers in completing their jobs. One of the most common is the forklift, or powered industrial trucks as they are sometimes called. These machines are meant to manage heavy loads of items and numerous items at once to make it much easier to get an item from one area to the next. Many times forklifts are used in businesses that have product on the floor that people are purchasing. These forklifts greatly decrease the chance that someone will hurt themselves when they lift an item that may be too heavy for them. In addition, they cut down on the amount of time that it takes to do a task. With this being said, these forklifts can be dangerous when in the hands of someone that really does not know what they are doing. Most companies are going to provide some sort of forklift training class that is going to prepare a person to drive these powerful machine for their own safety and those who may be around them.
The following are a few rules and tips that every forklift handler needs to keep in mind while operating this piece of machinery:
1. You need to pay attention while on the forklift and operating this. The driver needs to be aware of their surroundings at all times. This means looking in front, behind and at the left and right while driving. In addition, be aware of blind spots that you may have while driving. It can be easy to hit someone while driving one of these, thus a good drive is one that is always aware of what is going on around them.
2. Never allow someone to ride with you on a forklift, unless this forklift is designed to hold two people. The more people that are on a forklift the more likely the chance of someone having an accident since the driver may not be paying full attention to what is going around him or her.
3. One of the most important safety tips to remember is that when you are hauling something with the fork of the machine, the load must be even. If the load is uneven, this can cause a safety issue to arise, as this could potentially turn the fork lift over and cause harm to the driver and those who are around at the time.
4. In addition to ensuring that the load is even, a person can never raise and lower the fork while they are driving, even if they do not have a load that is on the fork. Through raising or lowering the fork while driving, the person is increasing the chances of having an accident since this can interfere with being able to see what is going on.
5. A person should also ensure that the forklift is in the shape to be driven. Many times, a forklift can have problems with leaking fluids which can affect the safety of the fork lift. Everyone should have a pre-drive checklist that they look through and check off each time they get behind the wheel of a fork lift to ensure that they are starting out with safety as the number one idea.
6. A person should not try to load too much weight onto the fork lift as this can cause the fork lift to have problems. Every forklift is designed with a maximum weight in mind, and a person needs to consider what this weight is, and whether one load needs to be turned into three loads in order to ensure that the driver and people standing around are safe. Fork lifts can turn over if the weight is too much to handle.
Along with rules that are related to driving, there are also a few safety tips that a driver needs to keep in mind while they are driving one of these for their own personal safety.
1. The driver should also wear protective head coverage. In most cases, this means wearing a hard hat. While driving a forklift there is always a chance that something could fall onto the forklift. Even if the forklift has a covered top, this can still hit the person in the head. It is always best to be prepared.
2. Wear protective eye wear that is going to protect the front, as well as the sides of the eyes. While driving anything could fly up and hit the person in the eye. Having safety goggles on or eye glasses that are made to be used in construction and high traffic areas is the only way to go.
3. Ensure that you wear ear protection if this is necessary. There are many times in which these lifts do not make hardly any noise at all. However, you will want to see what your company is requiring and what you feel most comfortable with doing.
Most forklift accidents that occur are related to having too much weigh or not evenly distributed the weight onto the vehicles. This is what causes the vast majority of accidents to occur which may result in minor injuries. However, there are cases in which forklift accidents have left the drivers and those around in very serious condition. It is always better to be overly safe on these pieces of machinery than to take a chance on this being something that could end your life or greatly affect your life.
Most companies who have powered industrial trucks are going to require that workers who operate these have their license, which is only granted after a person can prove that they can drive this with safety in mind. In addition, most companies require that their operators from time to time attend safety classes in order to ensure that they are still operating this machine safely. If you are taking these classes, be sure that you listen. The newer lifts that are being released onto the market can be very different than the older ones, which means that you may not know how to operate the machine. Not knowing how to operate the machine is a guarantee that you will not have safety on your mind.