Whether you already have a towing attachment for your forklift, or you’re considering investing in one, the key to efficient towing with a forklift is following all safety precautions. Forklifts are considered heavy machinery, and they require proper training and education to ensure your operators are driving them safely. The same goes for operating a forklift with a towing attachment.
If you’re getting used to your new forklift towing attachment, here are 10 forklift operator safety tips to follow to ensure you’re able to tow efficiently while keeping everyone safe:
#1 Ensure Operators Have Their Forklift Certification
Anyone operating your company’s forklift must have a forklift certification. Forklifts might seem like simple machines, but forklift accidents happen every day, many of which are due to poor training. Ensuring all operators are licensed and trained according to OSHA standards will help minimize the potential of any accidents while operating the forklift at your vehicle storage lot.
#2 Understand the Class and Type of Forklift You Are Using
There are a number of different classes and types of forklifts on the market. They all operate a little differently, with unique turning radiuses, weight limits, and more. Before operating a forklift with the Forklift Wrecker or any other wheel lift attachment, make sure you’re familiar with the class and type of forklift you are operating.
#3 Inspect Forklift and Attachment Daily
Your forklift should always be inspected before use. Any forklift that requires repair, from a burned-out light to a flat tire, should not be operated. If you notice any problems when completing a routine inspection, identify and log the repair request immediately. This will ensure others know not to use that forklift until it’s been repaired.
#4 Never Haul Weight Exceeding the Forklift’s Capacity
Never haul weight exceeding the forklift’s capacity. Forklift towing attachments like the Forklift Wrecker are affordable pieces of equipment, but they will only work properly and safely if they’re paired with the forklift that is appropriately weighted for the hauling you plan to do. Never install a Forklift Wrecker on a forklift that is not appropriately rated for light-duty vehicle towing.
#5 Only Operate Controls When Forklift is Stationary
For forklift operator safety, it’s important to only operate controls when the forklift is stationary. Forklift operators should not move forks or the Forklift Wrecker attachment up or down while the forklift is in motion. Wait until you’ve reached the vehicle or the vehicle drop-off spot to operate forklift controls.
#6 Always Ensure Load Is Secure and Stable Before Towing
Before using your forklift with towing attachment, ensure the vehicle you plan to tow is stable and securely attached to the towing attachment. Use tow straps to secure wheels to the towing attachment, and check that the vehicle is stable, with weight evenly distributed across the towing attachment. Only begin towing when you’re certain that the vehicle is secure and stable.
#7 Don’t Move Anything Without Clear Visibility
Towing vehicles with a forklift wheel lift attachment like the Forklift Wrecker is a convenient way to move vehicles across your lot, but it’s important that your forklift operators have clear visibility before they start towing. Since they’re moving something as large as a full-sized vehicle, it may be a good idea to pair your forklift operator with another employee who can walk well ahead of them to warn others to clear out of the forklift’s path and to ensure that no other people or objects are in the way.
#8 Move Slowly
When the vehicle is safely secured to the forklift towing attachments, and the forklift’s path is clear, it’s time to move. To ensure forklift operator safety, move slowly. Moving large vehicles over uneven terrain will shift the weight of the load, and sudden movements can cause the forklift or the vehicle to tip over. Move slowly and follow any forklift speed limits on your site to ensure safety.
#9 Consider Implementing “Forklift Only” Zones
One of the greatest hazards when operating a forklift while using towing attachments is other people. Especially at service garages, vehicle storage, and impound lots, there can be a lot of traffic as cars come in and off the lot. Moving people and vehicles can present hazards.
Establishing “forklift only” zones, where customers and non-essential employees are prohibited, is a great way to minimize these hazards. This could be a particular section of your lot where vehicles are waiting for service, or it could be the vehicle drop-off location, where only forklifts are allowed in. There, forklifts with a towing attachment can easily pick up new vehicles and move them to their designated location on your lot, with minimal concern of others blocking their path.
#10 Never Allow Anyone Other than the Operator In the Forklift
Finally, do not give rides to others in the forklift. Forklifts are uniquely balanced and are designed for just one operator. Another person in the forklift can shift the balance and cause both damage and injury. For that reason, only one person should be in the forklift at any given time.
It’s important to stay safe when operating a forklift. If your trained and certified forklift operators follow these 10 safety tips when opening your forklift with a towing attachment, they’ll be able to maintain the highest standards for safety, enabling you to move vehicles quickly across your lot, without worrying about anyone’s safety. If you have more questions about safely using towing attachments like the Forklift Wrecker, just get in touch with our team.
Legal Disclaimer: The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information on the website as a basis for making business, legal or other decisions.
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