With experience, operating a forklift can become second nature. While there are many functions and duties associated with operating a forklift or in material handling assignments in general, there are several responsibilities which should always be a priority. Safety always comes first. Safety awareness promotes a healthy work place and drives productivity. For any forklift operator there are practices and procedures one can undertake to achieve this goal and objective. Here are four must-know safety tips for any forklift operator:
Pay Attention At All Times
The best way to ensure safety is to be a step ahead of trouble. Forklift operators need to monitor the floor at all times. Forklift operators should always keep their eyes focused in front of them, constantly surveying the area for potential hazards. It is also essential for an operator to keep their hands free of any electrical devices or food and beverages. Not only does this eliminate distraction, but also in the event of an imminent danger, a forklift operator must be prepared to act immediately with both hands available.
Inspect The Forklift Prior To Operation
The best way to safely handle any forklift, is to assure that all parts and components are safe to operate. This is achieved through a systematic inspection of all parts that can serve trouble to forklift operators. First and foremost, the operator must check both the fuel and voltage levels before operation. Failing to do so can result in malfunction of the machinery and ultimately result in collateral damage to goods or injury to personnel. It is also imperative to check the hydraulic oil. Hydraulic oil permits the forklift to raise and lower its lift platforms throughout operation. Failing to do so can provide disastrous consequences. In addition to checking fluids, it is important that the operator also scan the status of various belts and pulleys throughout the mechanical system to assure safe operation.
Communication Is Essential
Forklift operators do not have to be articulate, but they must know how to effectively communicate. This can be achieved in a variety of ways. A forklift operator can use lights and signals to alert crew members. In addition, the use of a backup alarm can efficiently warn all in close confines that the operator is backing up. In summation, a forklift operator cannot by shy to convey intent and always maintains consistent verbal communication with colleagues and partners. Regardless of alarms or devices, verbal and visual communication from the operator is the most effective and efficient way to safely maneuver any assignment.
Attend Safety Training Sessions
Regardless if it’s on how to use a particular computer program, sort the trash, or use the printer, retention is very essential in the workplace, especially when it comes to safety. The safest forklift operators are committed to maintaining up-to-date knowledge of industry-leading safety practices. In addition to safety awareness, a forklift operator should retain certifications in various material handling capacities to further drive safe operations. Brushing up on these skills in refresher or booster classes is a great way to optimize safety in material handling functions.