When you use any motor vehicle, it’s very important for the safety of both you as the driver and everyone else around you that caution should be used. This is especially true in industrial settings where forklifts are used. Because work spaces may be more enclosed or even cramped and your proximity to people and other equipment may be quite close, forklift safety is a number one concern.
Knowing how to operate a forklift properly takes training. These motorized lifts may be smaller than most cars, but they still require knowledge and training to operate. The possibilities for injury are many for those who have not taken the time to learn. Although there is no federal law stating you must have a special drivers license to operate such a vehicle, only those over the age of 18 who have undergone required training and become certified may operate a forklift. Not only is this initial training important, but you should keep up your training and look for ways to help ensure safety for as long as you operate a forktruck.
While you are learning, you should also learn about personal safety and the required equipment as well. Familiarize yourself with proper attire such as helmets, shoes, hand signals, and other such required items. If you are unsure what to use in any case it is helpful to ask an expert, to take a few minutes and read an OSHA handbook, or go online and see for yourself what you need to do.
Once you know how to properly operate this equipment, you should familiarize yourself with the environment in which you work. Know what kinds of obstacles that you might face. Learn to anticipate people and other equipment around you and how they will react to you and your forklift. This will help to prevent a large number of injuries and damage to other equipment that come from a lack of knowledge. This is an opportunity to get to know the individuals that have been working in a facility for longer than you have. Ask what you might face when operating a forklift in the facility. Their knowledge and wisdom can often prove to be very useful and it is best that you use it to your best advantage.
Another area to consider is the overall maintenance of your lift. Although trained mechanics are needed to properly work on a lift, there are things that you can and should do to make sure your lift is in the best and safest condition possible. This includes daily checks that should be performed before you start work. They do not have to take long, but they do need to be thorough. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom of your lift. Look at all moving parts as well as all the important light and indicator components as well. Make sure to check the forks themselves.
At the end of the day, safety is an area in which you have a great deal of control. Make sure to take appropriate steps, and you will find it much easier to prevent mishaps involving your forklift.