Forklifts are unique vehicles that help warehouse workers move large materials and products. They are one of the most common forms of moving equipment found in Australia, but require a range of safety measures to avoid incidents that could cause injury.
So, to ensure your team is safe on the electric forklift, here are four important safety measures to always follow in the workplace.
- Provide proper training for your team
Forklifts aren’t like any other vehicle, and incorporate a particular steering and acceleration system that is completely different from regular vehicles. Therefore, you would never allow someone who is untrained in forklift operation to do just that.
Regardless, it is required by Australian law that forklift operators undergo a training period before they are able to operate the equipment. You will be well aware of the potential ramifications of allowing an untrained, uncertified person to operate a forklift, both in terms of incident risk and legal problems, so training is always the way to go.
- Don’t overload your forklift
This is one of the most common forklift incidents and can be easily avoided. Overloading a forklift can cause it to tip over, a hazard that could be potentially fatal.
Furthermore, you should always consider your safety when driving the vehicle, taking into account any blind spots or colleagues that could potentially be in your way. Finally, there are a lot of hazards associated with packing and unpacking your products – be sure you follow all correct safety procedures to ensure you don’t injure yourself when packing and unpacking.
- Perform routine inspections on forklifts
Forklifts are like any other vehicle, and could require maintenance or repair to ensure they are working at their safest capacity. You should conduct daily inspections on your forklift fleet, checking things like coolant levels, brakes, steering, operating systems, hydraulics and the horn.
Companies should keep a set of forklift inspection checklists that details each and every component that requires checking before safe operation. If it is discovered that any of the above-listed components, or something else, is not in safe operation, then the forklift should be sent for maintenance or repairs until it is safe for use.
- Know what your forklift is powered by
If you operate a forklift fleet that is powered by diesel, gasoline or propane then it is important to know that they emit carbon monoxide from their exhaust. If you operate these types of forklifts in enclosed spaces, you may be putting yourself at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, where carbon monoxide builds up in the bloodstream and replaces the body’s red blood cell oxygen with carbon monoxide.
It is a good idea to operate electric forklifts in enclosed spaces as they don’t emit carbon monoxide. If you do operate a diesel, gasoline or propane forklift, be sure to try and keep it away from enclosed spaces.
- Consider a zero tolerance policy
Forklifts are a heavy, powerful piece of warehousing equipment, and should be treated with the knowledge that they can be hazardous. It might be a good idea to implement a zero tolerance policy for staff not utilising forklifts safely, as it is important for staff to know that they shouldn’t be operated in an unsafe manner.
Forklift safety is a vital aspect of any warehousing position: you have to ensure your staff are protected from any hazards that could present themselves when using this industry machinery – it’s the best way to ensure no incidents occur in the workplace.