Top 5 tips for forklift safety in the warehouse

It’s certainly no secret that – while they’re a vital piece of kit for materials handling businesses – forklifts can be dangerous in the wrong hands. And whether you’re currently doing your forklift training,or you’re a seasoned forklift operator, it never hurts to brush up on your health and safety. Here’s some of the most important safety tips to be mindful of as you’re going about your day’s work.


Inspection and Thorough Examination 

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We’ve written before about the importance of inspection (LINK) and Thorough Examination (LINK), and we’re including it here because both are incredibly vital to maintaining safety in a warehouse environment. Daily inspections are vital to ensure that your trucks are safe, and a yearly Thorough Examination will legally prove that your vehicles are safe.


Pass your tests


If you’ve never operated a forklift before, you need to pass your forklift training before getting behind the wheel. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, you could be putting people’s lives in danger if you operate a forklift without prior training. Also, if you’re an experienced driver but you’ve spent some time outside of the profession, it may be worth doing a refresher course to make sure you’re 100% confident stepping back into the hot seat.


Drive Safe 


It can be tempting to cut corners when you’re operating your forklift, in order to speed up the process and hopefully clock off earlier. However, this is how accidents happen. Make sure you drive at a reasonable speed, and slow down when turning corners. Bear in mind also that ‘reasonable speed’ is always relative to the amount of cargo if you’re carrying. An unloaded forklift and one that is fully loaded will naturally have differing speeds that could be considered reasonable.
You also need to avoid braking suddenly. In a car, an emergency brake is a perfectly legitimate procedure, but in a forklift it can be very dangerous. A sudden brake in a loaded forklift can send the cargo crashing to the floor, which can be incredibly dangerous.



Load safe, not smart


You may think you’re being clever by over loading a forklift so that you don’t have to make as many trips, but in reality you’re just setting yourself up for an accident. Your recklessness could cause your truck to tip over, or the cargo to fall off the forks, which can cause serious injury to yourself or others. Also make sure that your load is clear of the ground, but not raised while driving, and that your view is not obstructed by the load.



Don’t slip up on slopes


You should always avoid operating your forklift on a slope if you can help it, but sometimes it can be unavoidable. When driving down a slope, always go slowly, and ensure that your forks are tilted upwards. This reduces the chance of your load coming untethered and falling down the slope, potentially injuring anyone unlucky enough to be in the way. It’s best practice to honk the horn before you descend a slope, so that anyone in the way can move.
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.

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