Maintaining safety on the job is a top priority for all business owners, but many forklift operators often overlook some of the most common and easiest ways to keep themselves safe. It's time to begin taking forklift safety more seriously. Forklift accidents happen often and can often result in injuries that are severe, or even life-threatening. It’s difficult for business owners to find ways to keep their employees safe without impeding on productivity or adding extra costs, but there are still plenty of ways to maintain safe practices while using a forklift on the job.
It's easy to get complacent and simply drive a forklift when you handle one every day. It's clear that proper training is essential for maintaining workplace safety when operating this complex and dangerous tool. Forklifts are still one of the primary hazards in workplaces across the country, causing approximately 110,000 accidents annually, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Here are three tips for maintaining the highest standards of safety while operating a forklift machine.
Keep Forklifts Maintained in Good Working Condition
Maintaining your forklift is not just a great way to extend the life of your machine, but it is also one of the best ways to ensure a high level of forklift safety. Because forklifts are usually operating every day, parts will inevitably wear out or become damaged over time. To keep your forklift maintenance simple, you should create an inventory of worn-out parts and make sure all new replacements are installed in a timely manner. It is a good idea to become familiar with all of the parts of your forklift, including how they work, and ways to determine when they need repair. While there are many different makes and styles of forklifts, they all operate on the same basic principles. In most cases, maintaining forklift safety is simply a matter of keeping up with regular repair checks and doing routine preventive maintenance.
OSHA regulations require an employee to perform a daily inspection on the forklift before operating it before every shift. If a device, such as a guardrail, is not functioning properly, the forklift should be shut off and tagged for repair. Daily inspections ensure that forklifts are operating at an optimal level of functionality and can identify operational problems before they become safety hazards.
Stay Aware of Your Environment
The majority of forklift accidents happen when the operator, or someone in the vicinity, is not paying attention to their surroundings. Common situations that cause forklift accidents are bumping into objects or people. To prevent these types of accidents, operators need to be cognizant of their job site and of their surroundings at all times. Keeping an eye on where you are going, alerting others of your presence and driving at moderate speeds can make forklift safety possible.
Make Sure Each Operator is Properly Trained
When working with forklifts, it’s critical that everyone in the workplace is properly trained. Training should consist of instruction on the proper ways to operate a forklift, how to react when something goes wrong, and what to do when a problem arises. Forklifts are high-capacity machinery that needs to be respected at all times. It is absolutely essential that everyone involved knows how to operate a forklift. Operators must be trained on the safe ways to lift and transport loads in a warehouse.
If you are looking for the safest way to train your staff on the proper operation of a forklift, take a look at the Real-Forklift by Really-Virtual. The Real-Forklift is a forklift training solution that uses virtual reality to put your employees in a risk-free environment while learning to properly operate a forklift in compliance with OSHA regulations. Their Rapid Engagement Augmented Learning Platform is being used in warehouses and vocational schools across the country to safely train and educate employees.
Maintaining forklift safety should be one of the top concerns of any business owner because not only is it very dangerous to operate, but it can end up costing you money in OSHA violations and accidents. These three tips can help maintain a high level of forklift safety by proactively addressing problems that could otherwise lead to tragic accidents.