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How to prevent forklift accidents?

12th August 2020 Print

Forklifts are the right-hand man of any warehouse. Popular for their groovy designs, forklifts made materials safer and easier to handle, and not to mention, far more effective than the usual manpower. While forklifts have increased workplace productivity, forklift operations still remain a danger if used incorrectly. 

In this article we will explain the need to use forklifts in a safer manner to ensure accidents are avoided. 

Train Your Employees

When it comes to forklift accident prevention, appropriate training is the key. As per OSHA, training workers to become expert forklift operators will remove the risk of accidents by teaching employees the importance of load imbalance and weight overload. Regularly training operators (even seasoned ones) on forklift safety subjects not only reinforces safety concepts that can be simply overlooked in everyday operations, but reminds employees of the seriousness of workplace safety, encouraging them to make smarter forklift operation choices.  

Practice Safe Operations

Driving with an elevated load and traveling at an excessive speed are two common reasons behind forklift accidents. Still, with appropriate education and regular reminders, employees will start to appreciate these seemingly tedious safety practices and transform them into natural routines. When we talk about traveling speed and load transportation, it is recommended by OSHA to traveling extremely slow, while keeping their loads as close to the ground as possible (typically about 4 inches off the ground). Seatbelts are also a lifesaver when it comes to keeping operators from jumping or tumbling out of their seat, which can tip the forklift and cause serious injury to the driver. 

Use the Right Tools on the Job

It’s important that anyone completing a forklift task has the correct tools on hand and follows the correct processes for use. Clear signage should be provided around the warehouse, indicating potential hazards, correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for all hazardous areas, and what action should be taken following an accident. Additionally, the use of a solid warehouse management system (WMS), including 3PL WMS systems, will also help employees better understand onsite safety processes and procedures. 

Inspect Machines for Safety Issues

Safe forklift practices start before an operator steps into the forklift. According to OSHA, A vehicle that is in need of repair, defective, or in any way unsafe should be removed from service immediately. Forklifts need to be examined each day for mechanical defects before every operation. Forklift operators should check their fluid levels, signs of cracks and leaks, tire pressure, and other parts for potential dysfunctionality or utility hazard. Furthermore, having regular forklift maintenance is important in securing your forklifts functionality during handling and transportation. Safety comes first in all workplaces, particularly in a warehouse when things can go wrong with heavy loads. Employers should adhere to an inspection and maintenance schedule while taking proper care of forklifts both in motion and at rest. 

Make Safety Part of the Workplace Culture

Workers will take their cues from superiors around what they should prioritize. If you only talk about the bottom line, your workers can feel pressured to make some unsafe decisions to help the company profit. The good thing you can do is stress the importance of everyone’s safety. Ensure your workers are trained, have a forklift to operate, and have someone who can address any safety concerns that may arise onsite. Address warehouse safety dangers promptly to avoid any work-related injuries.