Safety Tips for Operating a Forklift

By Leland | October 24, 2016

work-safe-industrial-safety-training_12087_imageWhenever you are operating any kind of heavy machinery it is important to stay aware of your surroundings and always follow proper instructions and precautions. There are specific safety instructions for every kind of heavy machinery and forklifts are no different. In this article, we will list some rules and regulations put forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for properly and safely operating a forklift.

When you are operating a forklift, there are a lot of potential dangers that you may come across. This may include tipping, collisions or much more. Tipping is when the forklift tips over. Most commonly a forklift will tip forward, due to heavy front loading without an adequate counterbalance. Adequate counterbalance means having enough weight on the back of the forklift to counteract the weight of the load. It is possible, however, to tip a forklift to its side as well. This is caused if the load is not properly centered on the forks, putting more weight on one side than the other. Collisions are not just caused by carelessness. In a forklift, your view is often obstructed and it is important to stay aware of that and be cautious when operating a forklift, whether you are at full speed or not. These following tips are important to remember and will help you safely operate your forklift:

  • While mounting and dismounting, be sure that your hands are clean and dry to prevent slipping when grabbing onto the hand hold.
  • When starting the forklift ensure that your way is clear. Be aware of the travel conditions along your planned route.
  • When stopping a forklift, select an area to park. Do not park in an unauthorized area. Do not block an aisle or exit.
  • When turning, come to a complete stop before changing direction and never turn with the forks elevated: this is a possible tipping hazard
  • When reversing, keep a clear view, always look behind you, and be aware of limited visibility.
  • When driving a loaded forklift down a ramp, go in reverse: Never drive with the load downgrade, this is also a possible tipping hazard.

Now that you know some of the safety tips for operating a forklift, be sure to put them into practice. Always think before you act and take your time when operating a forklift. You never want to put yourself, or someone else, in harm’s way just to get a job done quicker. Once you understand the importance of safety, you should check out Southern California Material Handling (SCMH) for all your forklift rental and purchasing needs.

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