Forklift-related incidents claimed the lives of 614 workers between 2011 and 2017, while more than 7,000 non-fatal forklift injuries requiring time off the job occurred each year. 

A well-trained operator can reduce forklift accidents. Forklift operators should train in the safe operation and maintenance of their equipment.

Here are a few warehouse safety tips to keep forklift operators safe.

To Ensure Forklift Safety, Keep the Machine in Good Working Order

Check to see that the forklift is in good shape.

This means checking a list of items including the brakes, steering system, horn/lights, load backrest extensions, overhead guard, and mast if it has one. Check the wheels and tires for damage or wear. Make sure that neither the fork carriage nor the forks have any cracks.

Establish clear, visible control areas and keep equipment inside them.

To properly control equipment in your warehouse, you need to establish a Control Area. Store all equipment, including forklifts and other powered vehicles, here.

Mark the area with signs that say “Control Area” or “Restricted Access Zone” and shouldn’t be accessible to anyone who doesn’t have permission from someone in charge. Put up signs in the Control Area to show blocked exits by gates or other barriers.

Maintain a Safe Distance From Other People, Vehicles, and Other Obstacles

To avoid forklift accidents, remember the following:

  • Inspect and maintain the forklifts and the other equipment to ensure they’re in good working order
  • Never carry over the rated capacity of your forklift
  • Never overload your forklift
  • Don’t use a forklift to lift people
  • Don’t use the forklift as a ladder

Use Your Forklift Horn to Warn People of Your Presence

  • Use your horn to warn pedestrians and other drivers that you’re coming through
  • Use the horn to let people in the warehouse know you’re entering their space and ask for any assistance they might like to provide you with
  • Use the horn when backing up for extra caution, or if something seems amiss behind you. 

Don’t Carry Passengers on the Lift

Allowing employees or visitors to ride the lift is a serious safety issue. For one thing, forklifts are not designed for passengers. They’re simply not stable enough. 

Carrying passengers can also make a forklift unbalanced and cause it to tip over even if you’ve got your seatbelt on. Additionally, OSHA violations can result in serious penalties for companies who allow passengers on lifts, including criminal charges. 

As an employer, you’ll want to avoid any potential legal problems by following proper protocol and keeping riders off of your equipment at all times. Finally, it’s worth noting that having someone else around could distract the operator from focusing their attention entirely on driving safely around the warehouse floor.

Avoiding Forklift Injuries

Warehouse and fulfillment centers are dangerous, but forklift injuries are largely preventable.

By lowering the risk of forklift accidents, you can lower your workers’ compensation premiums. At Super Industrial Products, we customize service options to fit your needs and objectives, such as a range of maintenance plans or customized branding on your trucks.

Learn more about our parts and services!