Safe Forklift Operation

Safe Forklift Operation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2011 and 2017 there were 7,000 forklift injuries that caused employees to miss work and 614 deaths. Taking serious forklift safety precautions is critical to safe, efficient work. As one of the nation’s leading forklift suppliers, our team at Chicago Industrial Equipment makes it a priority to educate companies on forklift operation safety. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to operate a forklift safely in different situations.  

Forklift Driving Safety

Your facility is bustling with busy forklift drivers and other on-foot staff. Encouraging drivers to follow these forklift safety guidelines will help you facilitate a safe working environment: 

  • Anyone operating a forklift should complete OSHA forklift safety training beforehand. 
  • Always wear a seatbelt. 
  • Heep limbs inside the vehicle. 
  • Avoid sharp turns. 
  • Install wall and ceiling mirrors to help see around corners. 
  • Engage the break early — forklifts require 22 feet to come to a complete stop from 10mph.
  • Point the forks downhill when driving on a slope unless carrying a load. 
  • Drive in reverse when the load obstructs the driver’s vision unless driving up a slope.  
  • Always lower the forks before driving. 

Safely Working With Trailers

Loading and unloading a trailer is safe when you ensure the proper conditions and promote best practices. These tips will keep your staff safe while loading and unloading a trailer:

  • Engage the trailer’s brakes and chock the wheels before entering. 
  • Display prominent signs that tell others the trailer should not be moved.
  • Ensure the trailer’s floors are strong enough to support the combined weight of the load and forklift. 
  • Clear any obstruction. 
  • Be mindful of trailer creep or movement away from the dock from repeated forklift entry and exit. 
  • Avoid sudden starts, stops and collisions with the load inside the trailer to prevent creeping. 

Forklift Safety While Parking

Forklift safety is still important while you’re parking the vehicle. Consider these precautions for parking forklifts or working around parked forklifts:

  • Use approved parking locations. 
  • Shift to the neutral gear and engage the parking brake before leaving the vehicle unattended. 
  • Lower the forks to the ground level before parking. 
  • Never walk under or stand on raised forks. 

Forklift Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians are at a high risk of injury in forklift operation areas. Follow these precautions to ensure pedestrian safety around forklifts:

  • Drivers should always watch for pedestrians.
  • Use mirrors to look for pedestrians behind the vehicle or around corners. 
  • USe horns and lights to ensure pedestrians know the forklift is nearby. 
  • If possible, make eye contact with nearby pedestrians before crossing in front of them or allowing them to cross. 
  • Never allow a pedestrian to stand between a forklift and a hard surface like a loaded pallet, bench, table or wall. 
  • In no circumstance should a pedestrian ride on the forks. 

Contact Chicago Industrial Equipment

Ready to put these tips to practice? Chicago Industrial Equipment has ready-to-work forklifts you can purchase for your facility. We fill our inventory with hundreds of safe, reliable machines at competitive costs. You can browse our industrial forklift selection online to see what we have in stock or contact us online for more on our equipment!