“The most recent HSE statistics show forklifts are officially the most dangerous form of workplace transport in the country: injuring more people than Heavy Goods Vehicles or Large Goods Vehicles. In fact, 25% of workplace transport injuries are a direct result of forklift truck accidents” – British Safety Council
On average, there are 1,300 forklift accidents and related injuries each year across the UK (British Safety Council, 2019). To avoid potentially lethal collisions, tipping over and falling loads, here are some of the most important dos and don’ts for forklift operators:
1) Drive Responsibly
Just like driving a car, you should always operate your forklift at a speed that will allow you to stop safely. Slowing down before turning is also crucial to avoid tipping the forklift over, and a reduced speed can save lives when approaching an area with limited visibility of oncoming traffic.
What are the major mistakes to avoid? Sudden stops and turns, not wearing a seatbelt and driving fast on slippery surfaces.
2) Be Aware of Pedestrians
You’re not only responsible for your safety when operating a forklift, you’re also responsible for the safety of those around you. You should always be aware of others who are working on or walking around the job site – making sure they are never in contact with the forklift while it is moving!
If you have any blind spots on your forklift, make sure that you have mirrors and ideally reverse cameras at the ready.
3) Don’t Skimp on Training
When you first qualified as a forklift operator, you would have received many hours of expert safety training. However, after years of working with heavy equipment, it is easy to forget those life-saving techniques and tips!
So don’t skimp on regular forklift training or refresher courses – it keeps the rules fresh in your mind, keeps you up-to-date with any changes forklift safety and creates a safer workplace environment for all.
4) Never Overload Your Forklift
This may sound like a given, but never carry a load that’s heavier than the maximum weight your forklift can handle. Otherwise, you run the risk of tipping over or a toppling load – neither of which are going to end well!
Being overloaded can block your view and may easily result in a serious collision. To be safe, also avoid stacking heavy loads on top of light ones or stack palettes to help ensure your safety and that of others.
5) Maintain Your Forklift
Performing regular checks on your forklift are a must. Some of the most important things to look for are: malfunctions with the brakes, clutch, transmission, or any of the other forklift operating controls or systems.
If the forklift is damaged during your shift, remember that it’s your responsibility to alert your supervisor – otherwise the necessary repairs won’t be made and others will be put at risk!
Lastly, if you ever feel that your forklift isn’t safe to be operated – then don’t!
Group Marketing Director