Driving a forklift may seem like one of the easiest aspect of your job, especially when you compare it to operating other pieces of heavy machinery. Even though a forklift may not come with the same hazards you might face when operating a backhoe, it is still important to use proper safety techniques. Like many other pieces of equipment on the job site, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates how workers use forklifts. Following the regulations properly can be the difference between life and death.
If you have to operate a forklift while on the job, you should follow proper procedures in order to ensure your safety and the safety of those you work around in order to avoid a forklift accident. Read below for some forklift safety tips to help you avoid a work-related accident.
Do not operate under the influence
Just like with any vehicle or heavy equipment, you should not mix drugs and alcohol with forklift operation. When operating any kind of machinery, stay alert and focused. This means you should not be drinking or taking any kind of drugs before you climb into the seat. This includes prescribed pain killers you are taking under the supervision of a doctor. In general, any type of substance that can affect your judgement should not be in your system when you are operating a forklift.
Keep the load low and angled up
After you have picked up a load with your forklift, angle the blades upward so that they tilt higher in the front. This will let gravity do the work of keeping the load on the blades. However, keep in mind that if you tilt the blades back too far, you can end up with a load crashing on top of the forklift. In addition, you should keep the load as low as possible. If you carry the load too high, you risk making the forklift unstable which can lead to a flip.
If you are carrying a tall load that impedes your visibility, do not compensate by raising the load high enough to see. Instead, keep the load in a safe position and drive backward. While doing this, be sure you are still watching what is happening to the sides and in the front so that you can avoid other objects.
The forklift is for inanimate objects only
When your coworker walks up and asks you to give him a lift because he does want to go find a ladder, the answer should always be no. In addition, the forklift is not a taxi from one side of the job site to another. Forklifts are not designed to carry anyone that is not sitting in a seat inside the cab. If someone is standing on the blades and you accidently move them or the forklift itself, you risk causing a serious accident and possibly even death.
Working with large machinery on a job site can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions you take, accidents can still happen. If you have suffered an injury on the job, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.