Be sure that you are taking the following specific reasonable precautions to protect workers who are working in the area of forklifts and lifting devices:Establishing pedestrian traffic policies and programs
Conducting a comprehensive workplace assessment of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and sssessing offsite working environments for risks such as the potential for contacting power lines and the condition of work surfaces. In making such assessments, employers, contractors and constructors should consider safeguards such as:
Although forklifts are designed to perform rugged tasks, each time they are used they can get damaged in myriad of ways. That’s why inspections are so important. At the start of each shift, perform both a visual inspection of the general condition and cleanliness of the lift truck, as well as an operational check to test its functioning properly. If you notice anything that may affect the normal operation of the forklift, immediately alert your supervisor.
Checklist for Visual Inspection
Checklist for Pre-Operation Inspection
No one must ride or operate a forklift truck except for a properly trained operator who is able to maintain control of the forklift and operate it smoothly when stopping, starting, lifting and tilting. The following points list some important guidelines on forklift safety.
Keep your hands, arms, head, feet and legs inside the forklift truck at all times. Travel with forks as low as possible from the floor and tilted back. Obey posted traffic signs. Decrease speed at all corners, sound horn and watch the swing of both the rear of the lift truck and the load. Avoid quick stops. If the load blocks your vision, travel slowly in reverse. Always look in the direction of travel. Keep an eye out for oil spots, wet spots, loose objects, holes, rough surfaces, people and vehicles on the floor or roadway.
To ensure the safety of others, know the blind spots of the lift truck with and without a load. When anyone crosses the route being travelled, stop the forklift truck. Lower the load to the floor, and wait until passage is clear.
Travelling on an Incline
Keep the forks pointed downhill without a load, and pointed uphill with a load. Do not attempt to turn the lift truck until it’s on level ground.
Support the load by the front wheels and turn with the rear wheels. Do not turn the steering wheel sharply when travelling quickly. If the lift truck is overloaded, steering will be difficult. Do not exceed load limits, and do not add a counterweight as an attempt to improve steering.
It’s important to know the recommended load limit of the forklift (shown on the data plate) and the capacity of the fork, and to never exceed these limits. Position the load according to the recommended load center. Do not add extra weight to counterbalance an overload. Keep the load close to the front wheels to keep the lift truck stable. When inserting the fork, keep the mast of the forklift in an upright position before inserting the fork into a pallet. Level the fork before inserting it.
Raising the Load
Do not raise or lower the fork unless the lift truck is stopped and braked. Avoid lifting a load that extends above the load backrest if there’s any risk of the load, or part of it, sliding back toward the operator. Check for adequate overhead clearance before raising a load, and maintain a safe working distance from overhead power lines. Lift the load straight up, then tilt back slightly. Watch that the load doesn’t catch on adjacent loads or obstructions. Don’t back up until the forks are free.
When a load is raised, the lift truck is less stable. The operator must stay on the forklift when the load is in a raised position. Don’t allow anyone to stand or walk under the elevated part of the forklift, whether it’s loaded or unloaded.
Ensure that forks are level and high enough to go into the pallet, and that they go all the way under the load. Forks must be the proper width to provide even weight distribution.
Avoid trying to move or adjust any part of the load, the forklift or the surroundings when on the forklift. Do not use pallets elevated by forklifts as an improvised working platform.
Park only in an approved location. When leaving the lift truck unattended, secure it by setting the brakes, lowering the forks or load to the floor, neutralizing the controls, and turning off the motor switch. Disconnect the battery or go through propane shut-down procedures.
Workplaces in the industrial sector are subject to regulation by provincial, municipal and federal governments. Industrial workplaces have come to rely on forklift trucks for their ability to lift and transport just about any load around the facility. Forklifts are indispensable, but also dangerous. Often when employees grow accustomed to using forklifts they tend to stop thinking of them as a safety hazard, and forget or neglect to follow some important operating and maintenance procedures. They become compliant.
When forklift injuries occur, they’re usually serious given the tremendous weight of these powerful machines. Employees must be trained to work safely with forklifts, not just when they’re hired but periodically thereafter. Refresher training for the experienced operator is just as important as first-time training for new employees. It’s also a good idea for employees to receive basic first aid training in case of injuries.