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Common Mistakes To Avoid When Operating Forklifts

17-Dec-2018 15:47 PM

Forklift lift accidents can lead to significant injuries and even death. Simple mistakes have caused companies huge losses which are avoidable if some guidelines were observed. Unlike cars, forklifts are unstable because of their height and width. Therefore, their operations differ and require more keenness when moving goods in the warehouse. Several deaths and injuries are caused by operation accidents in warehouses. Even the most experienced operators are prone to some common mistakes which are avoidable. 

Operators should do the basic forklift operator training courses which can reduce accidents in the warehouse. Following the manufacturer’s guideline is also essential in improving safety in the workplace. There are also various types and capacities of forklifts, and each operates differently. Some skills may not be transferable from one operation to another unless one is given the go ahead.

New employees may also find it fun to operate the machines and are prone to mishandling either by over speeding, overloading or joy-riding. Below are some of the common mistakes that forklifts operators must avoid.

1. Exceeding the Load Capacity

Every type of forklift has a specified volume that it can handle in each loading. Check with your manufacturer’s guide and adhere to the standards. Overloading the truck reduces its stability which is a recipe for disaster. Most forklifts have stickers that indicate their capacity and should not be tampered with. In case the figures are illegible, you can contact the manufacturer for clarification. If you use different machines in the workplace, it is advisable to confirm the capacity before lifting the loads.

2. Overspeeding

Acceleration reduces the stability of the lift. The machines should be driven at a person’s walking speed to maintain their balance. Even if the way is clear, because forklifts are tall and narrow, they are quite unstable. An attempt to over speed to cover up any downtime can cause more significant loss than idle hours. Productivity should come second after safety. In case there are pedestrians along your path, the speed should be even slower.

3. Lack of Regular Inspections

You should check the battery capacity, hydraulic system, and tires to avoid tipping or any uncontrolled movement. Check the battery level and top up if it is low. Ensure that all the cables are firmly connected to various systems. The tires should be in good working condition for the maximum safety of the operator and the premises. Any worn out wheels should be replaced. The operator should keep the braking system efficient for good control of the lift along the paths.

4. Operating on Slippery Pathways

Warehouses are prone to liquid spills or objects along the way. Some of the substances may also be flammable if exposed to friction. Therefore, the operator should have a good understanding of the work environment. In case of any spills which may hinder operations, it is advisable to dry the floor before resuming work. Some liquids like grease can also cause operator slips or forklift skidding.

5. Negligent Parking

Forklifts have specified parking lots to maintain safety in the warehouse. Operators should avoid undesignated areas which can inconvenience other drivers or customers. Keeping the fork exposed can cause injury to other workers in the warehouse. When the machine is parked, all the systems should be neutral, and the lift lowered to the ground. In case it is the end of your shift, you should switch off the power.

6. Unfamiliar Routes

The operating premises can be small, but you need an understanding of restricted and unrestricted pathways. When giving way to other operators, ensure that it is not due along blind spots which can lead to collisions. Some areas can be restricted due to sensitive products which can cause accidents.

Forklift operators should always keep a keen eye on their paths for maximum safety. Regular bizsafe level 2 courses are essential in having an efficient loading system for any company. Therefore, encourage your workers to undertake the training often.