5 Crucial Safety Tips for Forklift Drivers to Avoid Injuries

A forklift might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about construction equipment, but it’s one of the most commonly used machinery on the worksite.

Ever since forklifts were introduced, they’ve revolutionized the industry. In construction, forklifts are used to carry materials across construction sites and other distances. Modern forklifts are also more durable and easier to operate.

But, although forklifts are extremely useful and powerful, there are plenty of risks involved with them for drivers, employees on-site, and random civilians.

With reportedly 39,400 serious injuries resulting from forklift accidents occurring annually, forklift drivers must learn to keep themselves and others safe. So, here are some crucial safety tips to follow.

Get Appropriate Certification

The majority of forklift accidents take place at the hands of inexperienced and untrained operators. It is suggested that companies only hire drivers that have been trained and licensed under OSHA regulations and standards.

Employers must evaluate their forklift operators’ skills and driving performance once every two or three years. Additionally, providing lectures, training, and demonstration videos could also help them avoid mistakes.

Label Driving and Walking Paths

A marked floor system that designates foot traffic paths and forklift driving lanes can significantly increase workers’ safety and avoid major accidents. You could use paint or tape to mark zones easily in a warehouse.

But outdoor projects, on the other hand, are more difficult to manage since tape or paint won’t hold up. Instead, consider surrounding the forklift driving path with warning tape and signs at least 3.5 feet above the ground.

Inspect the Equipment Regularly

Forklifts endure heavy lifting all day in and out; thus, they require thorough daily inspections before using them. Experts recommend daily checks to search for defects or any problems regarding the machinery. Some things to check include:

  • Operational controls like steering wheel, emergency brake, etc.
  • Wheels
  • Fluid levels
  • Water or oil leaks

Pay Close Attention to its Stability

When driving a forklift, it’s important to ensure that your hands can easily reach the controls and that you’re seated in a comfortable position. This allows you to secure yourself in the vehicle to increase your safety.

In addition to keeping yourself secured, you also need to protect the forklift. Like all objects, forklifts have a center of gravity for their load. Operators need to stay within the three-point suspension system, or stability triangle as it is commonly known, to prevent it from tripping over.

Use a Suitable Vehicle Model for the Project

There are numerous differences between forklifts used on smooth, indoor floors and forklifts for outdoor construction projects. Besides that, forklifts also vary greatly in controls, carriable load, handling, and speed. With so many factors, it’s important to determine the needs of your project before choosing a truck to handle it. For instance, you can get hyster forklifts for sale at most online stores.

An obvious factor to consider is the maximum load that the vehicle can hold. Trying to lift materials heavier than the maximum weight limit of the forklift could end extremely badly with the driver getting hurt.