Thursday, August 30, 2012

Delivering – and Maintaining – Effective Forklift Safety

Let’s face it: the daily and nightly grind inside a lot of warehouses in America – and across the world – can be punishing. The work-shifts can run late, the shift boss might not be your favorite pal on Earth, and the finesse required to maneuver among stacks of crates, boxes, and pallets can be more than a little bit aggravating and tiresome. But a job’s a job, right? When it comes right down to it, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing it well, and that brings up the important issue of proper safety. Two of the most important areas involved in the safe operation of a forklift include following proper procedures during loading and unloading operations, and unnecessary speeding.

To the expert fork lifter, loading and unloading operations may feel like second-nature, but to those just starting out at a new warehouse, there’s oftentimes a lot to be mastered. Raising or lowering the forks while a forklift is moving, or trying to take on a load that’s too heavy or bulky, or carrying a particularly heavy item on a down-ramp or up-ramp – all of these contribute to the kinds of accidents that occur in a typical warehouse, and all of them can result in the overturning of forklifts. According to OSHA, 25% of all warehouse deaths in North America can be traced to forklifts overturning. It’s a serious business you’re helping to run, and it can’t be stressed enough that paying close attention to details is an essential.

Another factor that leads to all kinds of forklift accidents is the problem of speeding. Speeding on a forklift through a tight-packed warehouse is a different animal entirely than speeding along an empty, open highway. While both might be illegal (and dangerous), one of them carries far more potential for harm than the other. Drive slowly and carefully when operating in a warehouse, making sure you have a clear line of vision while driving, and be sure to slow down at cross aisles and sound the horn to alert other traffic that you’re coming through the intersection. Be sure to wear a seatbelt if such is provided, and never let someone else ride on your forklift if an actual seat isn’t provided for them to sit on.

We know it’s a tough job, but hey, if you’re a fork lifter, you’re probably a pretty tough guy or gal yourself. We’re just making sure you keep safe in there, same as anyone who had respect for the profession.

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