Forklift safety is essential to a warehouse workplace. But, forklift safety isn’t just in the hands of the driver — everyone in the warehouse needs to be aware of safety responsibilities. Here are some essential forklift safety tips, even if you’re not the one driving.
Set a Speed Limit
According to the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA), forklifts can go up to 8 mph. However, to ensure safety, they shouldn’t move any faster than 3 mph, especially when pedestrians are present. One of the easiest ways to reduce the potential for accidents is to set a speed limit of 3 mph that forklift drivers aren’t allowed to exceed. This gives both drivers and pedestrians more time to react and should prevent most accidents.
Don’t Exceed Load Capacity
“The most commonly used forklifts can carry loads of one to five tons,” the MHEDA explains. “Larger forklifts have a load capacity of up to 50 tons.” Given the significant difference in load capacity, drivers should know exactly what each machine is capable of hauling and be sure never to exceed it.
Routinely Check Forklift Safety Features
Forklifts can come with a variety of safety features such as horns, operator assist grips, and overhead guards. But like most other types of machinery, these require periodic maintenance and may not work 100 percent of the time. That’s why it’s important to perform routine inspections to make sure safety features are working properly and make necessary replacements.
Ensure Aisles Are Large Enough
If a forklift operator is working with limited space, they may be more focused on not bumping into shelves than general safety. And this is problematic because it can present a threat to any pedestrians in the area, especially if it’s in a noisy environment where operators may not be able to hear well. Although it’s not always possible for smaller warehouses, you may want to consider rearranging shelves to create more room if this is an issue you’ve encountered. Also, be sure to keep aisles clear of clutter and debris that could get in the way.
Forklifts can dramatically increase productivity and are a huge help in the workplace. However, they come with some significant safety concerns that must be addressed. Following the tips listed above should improve forklift safety for pedestrians as well as operators.
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