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8 tips to minimize risks and maintain safety in your warehouse

Forklifts are very useful equipment but as a counterpart they have the risk of danger that comes with handling these heavy vehicles loaded with materials.

Forklift trucks are as much a part of shipyards, dealers, wholesalers and manufacturers as trees are to forests. They cruise around the yard, retail, or job site carrying piles of lumber, drywall, carpentry, and more, moving inventory from one location to another, slipping past co-workers, customers, or passersby.

Because the forklift is such a common part of a products dealer's daily business, it can be easy to overlook the risks associated with this necessary piece of mobile machinery. Unfortunately, accidents related to loading and unloading, lack of visibility, and lack of training remain a very real hazard for these facilities. These risks are often mitigated with proper precautions and training to make a safer facility for workers, vendors, delivery drivers, and retail customers.

warehouse safety

Below, we at Verge Safety Barriers have outlined eight tips to keep in mind when operating your forklift in the warehouse.

1. Leave driving to authorized drivers.

Drivers must be fully trained and certified in all the operational (operator's license) and safety characteristics of the specific forklift they are operating. Training should be regularly reinforced with safety reviews every three years or when equipment or hazards change. A manager must oversee all forklift operations.

2. Check that the load is secure.

Forklift operators must understand what they are hauling and regularly check the load. It should be secured against the back of the cart and tilted back, while the forks are low and widely spread for stability.

3. Make sure there are no other workers around the forklift truck work area.

Check that no one is standing in front of the truck while the forklift is moving and instruct the operators to stop the vehicle immediately if another person enters the loading area. Trailer wheels must be chocked when loading and unloading. No person should stand under or near the load of the car.

4. Drive safely.

Forklift operators must drive at a speed of 10 miles per hour or less. Drivers should inspect the bridge decks and plates and proceed slowly. The rear bumpers must be in place on any truck or trailer that is entered. When driving down a slope or when visibility is restricted, the vehicle must be operated in reverse. Operators should avoid sharp turns to prevent the vehicle from tipping over and ensure that the forks are lowered and the brake is adjusted when parking the vehicle. The spring plates must be inspected before use.

5. Be Alert

Forklift operators must remember of their surroundings in the least times. Aside from being aware of visible employees and customers, operators should also signal their horn when entering gates or a blind intersection. Running lights, backup alarms, and warning lights help make the forklift truck more visible to others.

6. Use the forklift as intended.

A Forklift truck should not be used to lift people, unless it is using an approved safety platform. No forklift should be moved while a person stands on a raised platform. Horse riding and tricks should be prohibited.

7. Complete a daily inspection.

Forklift operators must complete a vehicle inspection before operating that includes a check of the brakes, tires, steering, hydraulics, horn, warning lights, and more. A record of those inspections must be kept on file.

8. Have safety equipment on hand.

Safety equipment must be installed on all Forklift trucks, including: fenders, fire extinguishers, warning lights, and backup alarms. When on a public street, a forklift must be equipped with a slow moving vehicle sign. Roads and sidewalks should be marked to warn vehicles and pedestrians of forklift traffic. An additional employee must be used as a monitor for such crossings.


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