Warehouse safety tips for forklift truck drivers

What are the common warehouse safety tips for forklift truck drivers in other to minimize accidents?

Forklift overturning accounts for 25% of all forklift accidents within the warehouse in the United States. If you intend to start a career as a forklift operator or hire one, it’s important to identify these safety tips.

In this article, you will learn about the top warehouse safety tips for forklift operators in the United States:

1. Only trained and certified operators should be allowed to use the forklifts in the warehouse

One of the core reasons why only trained and certified operators should be allowed to use a forklift in the warehouse is because using them requires having the right skills, tips and knowledge of the operational guidelines and safety rules.

A trained forklift operator can help you prevent accidents and injuries thereby improving the overall warehouse safety standard. They know how to properly inspect the forklift before use, how to load and offload materials safely, and how to navigate around the warehouse or job site.

To avoid an increase in the rate of accidents and injuries in your warehouse, do not allow untrained or uncertified individuals to operate your forklift truck. You can become a trained operator, by enrolling in the best forklift training courses and certification programs near you.

2. Conduct a routine inspection of the forklift before each use

The core areas to regularly inspect in your forklift before you begin operation as a driver are the brakes, tires, lights, and horns.

Conducting a routine inspection of the forklift before each use helps to identify and address any potential safety issues, maintenance needs, or performance problems, improving warehouse safety and efficiency.

This routine inspection is what experts call, a lift truck pre-use inspection. When you look at the operator’s manual and log book, they will help you identify different signs and how to quickly fix them.

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3. Always use your seat belts while operating a forklift in the warehouse

Using a seat belt while operating a lift truck within the warehouse will not only give you comfort but also help you to avoid distractions. Just like it is in other vehicles, a seat belt can help you gain a level of stability while driving.

Is it a legal requirement to wear a seat belt when driving a lift truck in the warehouse? The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) does not have a specific rule requiring forklifts to have seat belts. 

However, all powered industrial trucks manufactured after 1992 are required by OSHA to have seat belts or another type of restraint specifically to reduce the risk of being crushed, or “mousetrapped,” in the event that the forklift overturns.

What does OSHA do? OSHA is the full meaning of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. The role of OSHA is to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

What OSHA is to the United States, is what HSE (Health and Safety Executives) is to the United Kingdom.

4. Keep a safe distance from pedestrians and other workers

The best way to keep a safe distance from pedestrians and other employers within the warehouse is to create floor markings. It’s a great way to warn other workers of hazards within an environment where there’s a forklift.

Floor marking can help you create a safe distance through the following ways:

  • Create clear aisles and pathways: Aisle markers and pathways alert pedestrians to the presence of forklifts, create separate paths for pedestrians and forklifts, and safely direct traffic throughout a facility. A printable tape can also indicate the direction of traffic. Each of these instructions can help a forklift driver operate safely and more efficiently in congested corridors.
  • Use floor signs to create traffic controls: Clear, easy-to-read floor signs warn drivers of speed limits, inform pedestrians of nearby forklifts, notify workers when pedestrians or forklifts aren’t allowed in an aisle, establish right-of-ways at intersections, and more.
  • Reroute pedestrians: Thoughtful floor marking may keep employees away from forklifts and moving loads.
  • Identify important areas: Floor marking can point out loading docks, warehouse doors, ramps, and other areas that might involve hazards.
  • Cordon off storage areas: Alert employees to inventory, pallets, and other materials that forklifts might lift and transport around a facility.

5. Follow all posted speed limits and warning signs

Following speed limits and warning signs when operating a forklift is important for safety, efficiency, compliance, and damage prevention. 

There are always material loading and unloading procedures you must follow when using a lift truck. When you fail to follow the operating procedures, you risk facing fines and penalties.

Different Classifications of Forklifts

The various classifications of commonly-used types of forklifts as recognized by OSHA are as follows:

  • Electric Motor Rider Trucks 
  • Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks
  • Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks
  • Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Solid/Cushion Tires
  • Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Pneumatic Tires
  • Electrical and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors
  • Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks
Emenike Emmanuel
Emenike Emmanuel is a multiple award-winning blogger, CEO of Entrepreneur Business Blog, Chief Evangelist of Ebusinessroom Ventures, and the Lead Coach of an online community of over 12,000 business owners called, The Excellent Entrepreneurs' Network. He’s here to help you start, manage and grow a profitable and sustainable business using digital marketing strategies. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & Pinterest with this handle, @emenikeng. Telegram group - t.me/yourfirst1000 | Email: [email protected]

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