In honour of the eighth annual National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD), we are highlighting some best practices and tips for safe forklift operation. NFSD initially came to be as a chance for the forklift industry to reiterate the importance of proper training, review the safe use of lift trucks, and to revisit how crucial daily equipment checks are regardless of your level of expertise.
Warehouses and workplaces can be a dangerous place if safety isn’t taken into serious consideration. When workplaces include industrial equipment like forklifts, it’s important to ensure every precaution is taken prior to operation.
- Review your forklift training periodically even if you’re considered an expert
- Inspect your machine at the beginning and end of every shift (before and after use) – ensure you are noting any problems or concerns and reporting them to your employer promptly
- Check your surroundings; ensure your pathway is well lit and there are no pedestrians in your path
- Know the load capacity of the forklift and do not exceed it
- Forklifts are not designed to carry passengers – do not operate with anyone else on the truck
- Always use the 3-point contact system when entering or exiting the machine to create balance
Tips for optimizing safe forklift operation
- Keep a safe distance from other machines
- Use caution when approaching corners, doorways, and narrow aisles
- Utilize the horn when needed or approaching a blind turn
- Distribute the weight and load the forks evenly
- Do not walk under raised forks
- Be mindful of doorway heights and widths
Forklift safety begins with proper training prior to use, but it doesn’t stop there. Even experts should be reviewing their training and performance periodically. Whether you have been operating a forklift for one month or five years, daily checks of the machine before and after use should be performed to maximize safety and minimize the risk of accidents.
According the CCOHS, the operator should begin with a visual pre-use check followed by an operational pre-use check. This information and checklists can be found on their website here: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/forklift/checks.html
National Forklift Safety Day brings awareness to the dangers of operating a forklift. By following best practices and reviewing training periodically, the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities could see a drastic decline.