Safe forklift operation is efficient forklift operation. When you take the time to complete your tasks with care, you avoid costly mistakes and save your business from spending money on repairs and higher insurance premiums down the road. So, not only are you keeping yourself and your employees from harm, but you’re reaping financial benefits as well. It’s a win-win.
That said, let’s run through five tips to follow for safe and efficient forklift operation.
1. Obtain a Forklift Certification
A large number of forklift accidents are caused by operators with either poor training or no training at all. Therefore, workers should not operate a forklift until they are trained and licensed in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards.
Once they’re trained and licensed, you should re-evaluate your employees’ performance every few years to ensure they can still operate a forklift safely. You may also choose to conduct annual training sessions with lectures, videos, or demonstrations in order to encourage continuous learning.
2. Use Your Forklift as Intended
Regulated by OSHA, there are seven forklift classifications, each with different structures, weight limits, traveling speeds, turning radii, and uses. These classifications include:
- Electric motor rider forklifts
- Electric motor narrow aisle forklifts
- Electric pallet jacks, stackers, and tow tractors
- Internal combustion cushion tire forklifts
- Internal combustion pneumatic tire forklifts
- Electric/IC engine tow tractors
- Rough terrain forklifts
Knowing which applications to use each forklift for is not only important in completing the job properly, but also important in ensuring the safety of you and those around you. Don’t use a forklift from a class you aren’t comfortable with, and avoid using certain types of forklifts for the wrong application.
3. Inspect Your Forklift Daily
Before you use your forklift each day, your operators should follow regular forklift operation safety protocol, including inspecting it thoroughly for any possible problems. If your forklift needs any repairs, don’t use it until they are made. Here’s a checklist of things to look out for:
- Ensure proper function of each operating control (brakes, lights, horn, steering wheel).
- Check the tire and fluid levels (hydraulic, brake, engine, fuel, coolant).
- Look for any water, oil, or radiator leaks.
- Ensure the forks are straight, with no cracks or warping.
- Examine the mast and overhead guard for any damage.
4. Maintain 360° Visibility While Operating Your Forklift
You should have clear, unobstructed visibility whenever you are operating your forklift. This will help prevent you from crashing into or running over any other machinery, materials, or people.
In order to achieve this, keep the forks low to the ground and always look in the direction of travel. If your load interferes with your line of sight, operate your forklift in reverse. Use your rearview mirrors, headlights, and taillights as necessary.
5. Implement Additional Forklift Attachments
As an additional safety measure and efficiency booster, you can implement forklift attachments that make the job easier. One of the best forklift attachments on the market is the Forklift Wrecker.
The Forklift Wrecker is a mechanical, auto-load wheel lift attachment that provides an easy, fast, and affordable way to move cars with just a forklift. It’s a perfect solution for the daily challenge of moving cars around your lot without paying for or waiting for a wrecker — making it ideal for applications at body shops, service garages, and municipal governments.
Not only does the Forklift Wrecker save you time and labor, reduce damage, and prevent injuries — it also is extremely simple to install. Just follow these five steps:
- Slide the attachment onto the forks of your forklift.
- Tighten the bolts to secure the attachment to the forks.
- Push the attachment under the wheels of the parked vehicle. The C-hooks will pivot around the wheels.
- Lift the vehicle, and secure it with provided wheel straps.
- Move the vehicle.
Learn more about how to use a forklift car lift attachment like the Forklift Wrecker, or learn more about Care & Maintenance for the Forklift Wrecker.
Looking for ways to get more use out of your forklift? Consider the Forklift Wrecker towing attachment. This powerful tool attaches to equipment you already use for safe, convenient towing at the ready. Give our team a call or contact us online to learn more.
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.