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5 Rules to Ensure Forklift Safety

forklift safety

Table of Contents

Forklift safety is a crucial issue in many workplaces, and when done well it can prevent many accidents and even fatalities at work. This in turn reduces the risk of severe damages and loss for the company.

Learn about forklift safety, training, and the hazards that come with operating this powered industrial vehicle.

Forklift-related Injuries

Forklifts are potentially of the most hazardous types of workplace vehicles. They are rugged, powerful tools commonly found in warehouses, workshops, and factories. They are valuable in many companies as they help save time, money, and effort to get the job done. However, the same qualities that make them indispensable can also make them high-risk.

The use of forklifts and other powered industrial trucks results in an average of 9 fatalities and 1,800 injuries in Australia every year. And a lack of proper safety training and improper maintenance can greatly increase the chances of an accident occurring.

The dangers associated with the use of forklifts are often underestimated, both by employers and workers. Just because these trucks are common and familiar in many workplaces does not mean they’re always in good working condition. Lift trucks incidents tend to be severe and often fatal.

It is essential to know the dangers that come with forklifts. Here are the most common types of incidents involving these heavy-powered trucks:

  • Fall from a height
  • Struck by a moving truck (Blindspot)
  • Struck by a load coming from the truck
  • Overturn of the truck
  • Being trapped between the mast and overhead guard

Other less common forklift injuries involve fire or explosion or the machine being unsuitable to operate safely in a given work environment.

5 Rules for Forklift Safety

Forklifts weigh tons and can travel up to a specific speed limit. These mechanical beasts can be of great assistance at work, but can also be dangerous.

Forklift SafetyPlay it safe with these five forklift safety tips.

Know the machinery (and its rules)

Although forklifts and other powered industrial trucks share some similarities, they ultimately have their differences. The latest guideline for health and safety offences in Australia are higher than ever. In an accident, businesses could face crippling fines and lawsuits.

It is essential to have the right people handling the operations who know forklifts and their strict rules. 

Daily (and Pre-Use) Inspection

A regular inspection of the lift trucks should ideally be a requirement for workplaces that use these machines. Have the operator carry out a quick safety assessment before and after use and use a checklist for proper monitoring. Checkpoints should include the following – tires, lights, horns, breaks, seatbelts, alarms, and fluid level. Check the moving and load-supporting part of the forklift as well.

Forklift defects can result in accidents and injuries, despite the driver being careful. Daily inspections are one of the the best ways to prevent this.

Know the Common Forklift Hazards

In addition to those mentioned earlier, a few common hazards are associated with forklifts.

  • Unsecured loads may fall and can crush pedestrians and other drivers.
  • The truck may tip over due to imbalanced loads or excessive speed on the road.
  • Standing on forks may result in falls.
  • Blind spots or the driver not seeing pedestrians, leading to collisions and accidents.
  • Missing or ignoring floor markings can lead to accidents between forklifts and pedestrians.

Develop Proper Communication System

Put up signage and other traffic control devices. Warning can signs also help to warn pedestrians and operators to stop and look for hazards.

Implement ways to improve traffic flow and keep the pedestrians away from the lanes. Direct the trucks along safe routes and assign a proper area for loading docks, inventory shelves, and other necessary processes.

Display the checklist and daily inspection requirements where the lift trucks are stored.

Implement Solutions for Forklift Safety

Commitment to safety begins with proper training. Lack of skill and knowledge for a forklift operator is just as dangerous as driving a car on the road without training.

Employers are responsible for providing training to their drivers and operators. Have safety programs and training in place to ensure everyone is protected.

Conclusion

Training is the first step in ensuring forklift safety. Not knowing the proper protocols for lifting and carrying loads is an accident waiting to happen. In unexpected accidents and injuries, a timely first aid response can save lives.

In addition to training the safety tips above, first aid training is one key area to promote a healthy and safe work environment.

First Aid Pro provide exceptional first aid training and group safety courses to workplaces across Australia. Basic life support training programs are also available.

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