5 ways to ensure forklift safety in the workplace

It’s certainly no secret that working in the logistics industry comes with certain hazards. It’s impossible to get rid of risk entirely, but there are steps you can take to ensure that preventable accidents do not occur.

The key is to cultivate an informed, careful and conscientious workforce who fully understand the importance of warehouse safety and how to prevent accidents. Safety must be so integral to the culture of your company, that when accidents do occur, they are not accidents that could have been easily prevented. Here’s our top safety tips that should be at the forefront of your employees’ minds at all times:

 



Load Carefully


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We’ve all been there. You’ve just got back from the supermarket, and you grab all of the bags out of the boot in one go. You have to steady yourself at first, but you press on. After all, you don’t want to make two trips! It’s understandable that people want to get jobs done as quickly as they can. We lead busy lives, and often have a multitude of tasks that we’re concerned with all at once.

However, when it comes to forklifts it may be worth taking that second trip. The consequences could be far worse than broken eggs and smashed jars. Ensure that all of your staff know how much weight each forklift can safely take, and impose strict disciplinary action on employees who exceed this. An overloaded forklift can cost lives, so there must be zero tolerance towards those who break this basic safety rule.

 

 

Know your environment


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If you are about to start working somewhere new, then it might be worth taking a little time out to walk around your new workplace in order to understand its layout, and make a mental note of any potential hazards. Knowing all the little intricacies of a warehouse environment can help you perform your job easier and in a safer manner.

 

 

Communication


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There are few jobs in existence that don’t require some sort of communication skills. However, it’s a skill that’s especially important when your job involves operating heavy machinery, where errors can literally cost lives.

Communicating clearly with others means that people know what you are doing and also helps them predict what you’re about to do. This reduces accidents and helps people work with you rather than around you.

 

Maintain your machines


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Many accidents in the workplace are completely avoidable, and as the saying goes – ‘prevention is better than cure’. If you don’t frequently maintain your forklift trucks, you may be saving time and money in the short run, but in the long run all you’re really doing is creating an accident waiting to happen.

Consistently maintaining your fleet of forklifts means that you’ll spot issues before they have the chance to manifest themselves as problems. Let’s say a few screws come loose on your forklift’s lifting mechanism. It’s better to spot this early and get them tightened up before they have a chance to become a problem, than find out about it when a wooden pallet goes clattering to the floor.

 

 

Drive slowly


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As previously discussed, it can be tempting to cut corners and save yourself a bit of time when there’s plenty of work to be done. But however tempting it may be to zip around the warehouse likeLewis Hamilton, reckless driving causes accidents. And when you’re driving a forklift loaded with heavy materials, it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s not big and it’s not clever.

Stick to a sensible speed, especially when the forks are fully loaded. If you’re an employer, you should set a sensible speed limit for your workspace that your employees must stick to.
HITEC specialises in hire and sales of materials handling vehicles, including forklift trucks. Get In Touch to discuss how we can help you with your material handling needs. We also offer Forklift Driver Training, with our team of skilled instructors. Call us to find out more.

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