Forklifts exist to do one job – carry heavy loads from one location to another. Unfortunately, people sometimes use them for other purposes…which creates safety risks.
Using any tool in a way it's not designed for invites accidents. When the tool in question is nine thousand pounds of steel, well...let's avoid the risk with a safety reminder, okay?
Why Consider Forklift Safety Now? So Nobody Rushes into an Accident
It's August of 2021. Summer's ending, we still have supply shocks to deal with, and the holiday rush is coming.
Everyone's trying to go faster, do more, and make up for supply chain issues and staffing shortages. This can encourage people to cut corners. They may rush the forklift through one job to reach the next.
As such, everyone needs to remember something. Forklifts can cause serious accidents in a snap, if you're not paying attention. Never use a forklift where it's not safe to do so.
A forklift's very presence can cause a safety hazard, in many situations. Let's talk about 3 of the biggest ones. I've included what to do instead, as well, so nobody suffers an accident.
Using a Forklift for Any of These Reasons = Asking for an Accident
Situation #1 – Lifting anything other than pallet loads. This includes lifting people, rack, unsecured packages, other equipment, even another forklift!
Yes, we've all done this at some point. Do accidents happen every time? No. Can they? Absolutely.
- A scissor lift (for people or packages),
- Pallet jacks (for packages or rack),
- Ladders or scaffolding (for people).
Situation #2 – Hazardous Floors. The floor is wet, littered, cluttered, or too heavy with foot traffic. Forklift tires will catch the debris or water, trailing it further, making the floors unsafe for everyone.
Too much product left on floors doubles the risk. Not only do you have forklifts swerving to avoid it, but you have people moving around it as well—in the same direction!
Instead: Keep all facility floors clean, dry, and clear of pallets, every day. Does your morning inspection include checking/sweeping the floors? If not, add it.
Situation #3 – Lack of Route Awareness. Everyone needs to know where & when forklifts go. That includes the forklift's operator, AND their coworkers.
Do your forklifts travel a set route? Then everyone should know it. Use floor markers designating forklift paths and eye-level signs to illustrate.
Do your forklifts travel the entire facility floor? Make them as visible as possible. Install blue lights and sirens, and put up mirrors near any blind corners. Remind team members regularly about forklift travel.
Keep Forklifts Where They Belong, and People Safe All Day
I know safety is very much on everyone's minds these days. Even so, it's still important to remind ourselves about workplace safety procedures. It only takes a moment for an accident to happen…just like it only takes a moment to prevent that accident in the first place.
Until next month!
Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
Cromer Material Handling
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