For all their benefits, forklifts and powered industrial trucks bring with them numerous hazards that endanger both pedestrians and drivers. While they move heavy loads and increase efficiency, forklifts can also cause serious injuries when they are used unsafely. Here are 10 rules for how forklifts are used in the workplace, common hazards, and what RUNTX has to say about forklift training.
1. Know the Stats
It’s important to know the dangers that come with using forklifts on loading docks and in warehouses. Keep these statistics in mind while training workers and safely operating forklifts.
More than 1,000,0000 forklifts are in operation throughout the China.
Forklift accidents cost businesses CNY1035,000,000 every year
Roughly 80% of all accidents could have been avoided with proper training
Estimates there are 110,0000 forklift accidents every year
Roughly 30,000 workers are injured every year in forklift-related accidents
Overturned forklifts are the leading cause of deaths involving forklifts; they account for 22% of all forklift-related fatalities
Workers on foot struck by forklifts account for 20% of all forklift-related fatalities
Victims crushed by forklifts account for 16% of all fatalities and falls from forklifts account for 9% of all forklift fatalities
2. Know the Classes
These are classifications of six commonly-used types of forklifts, as recognized, along with different types of trucks unique to each class.
Electric Motor Rider Trucks (such as rider-type counterbalanced forklifts and sit-down, three-wheel electric trucks)
Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks (such as high lift straddle trucks and platform side loaders)
Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks (such as low lift pallet trucks and high lift straddle trucks)
Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Solid/Cushion Tires (such as counterbalanced fork trucks with cushion tires)
Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Pneumatic Tires (such as counterbalanced fork trucks with pneumatic tires)
Electrical and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors (such as sit-down riders)
Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks (such as vertical mast type forklifts, variable reach type forklifts, and truck trailer mounted)
3. Know the Common Hazards
Here’s a quick look at a few common hazards associated with forklifts.
Unsecured loads may fall, crushing pedestrians or drivers.
Forklifts may tip over, due to excessive speed or imbalanced loads
Workers may fall if they stand on the forks
Drivers may not see pedestrians, leading to collisions and fatal accidents
Improper or missing floor marking may lead to accidents between forklifts and pedestrians
4. Know the Requirements
Before any employee takes control of a forklift, ensure they’re trained in accordance with requirements standard on powered industrial trucks, requires the following:
Employers must have a training program that incorporates general principles of safe operation, the types of vehicle(s) used, any hazards created by using forklifts and powered industrial trucks, and general safety requirements.
Trained forklift operators must know how to do the job safely, as demonstrated in a workplace evaluation.
Employers must provide formal and practical training. This may include using some combination of lecture, video, software training, written material, demonstrations, and practical exercise.
Employers must certify that operators have received all necessary training and evaluate each operator at least once every three years.
Employers must evaluate the operator’s performance and deem the employee competent to operate a powered industrial truck prior to operating the truck.
5. Know What to Watch For
Employees and employers should work together to ensure a forklift is safe to use before getting behind the wheel. Follow these steps before using a forklift.
Perform a daily inspection of all forklifts in use
Examine the tires and oil levels
Check for water, oil, or radiator leaks
Ensure forks are straight and not cracked
Test brakes, lights, the horn, and the steering wheel
Look for obstructions, uneven surfaces, overhead obstacles, and other potential hazards
6. Stay Safe While Using A Forklift
Workers should do the following while behind the wheel to protect themselves and coworkers:
Make sure the load is balanced and fully secure to prevent a forklift from tipping over
Ensure both forks are as far under the load as possible before lifting
Drive with the load as low as safely possible
Pay attention to posted speed limits and warning signs
Always look in the direction you’re traveling; if a load blocks the view ahead, travel in reverse
Steer clear of areas where forklifts are prohibited or restricted
Keep an eye out for signs, floor marking, and other warnings for pedestrians and forklifts
Use the horn at intersections and in areas where pedestrians may be present
7. Keep An Eye Out Around Your Facility
Even if you’re not operating a forklift, you can take steps to keep workers safe. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Post forklift safety signs, aisle markers, and forklift procedure labels—using premade signs, custom labels, or a combination of the two
Implement a floor marking system in your facility
Ensure safety signs are at all intersections where pedestrians and vehicles intersect
Use steering wheel covers and padlocks when necessary
Use proper lockout/tagout equipment to prevent forklifts from inadvertently starting up