10 Warehouse Forklift Safety Tips

When working in or operating a warehouse, it is important to be aware of any potential liabilities as well as make sure that safety is a paramount concern. Safety can take many forms but is especially crucial when operating large machines and equipment around commercial shelving, such as forklifts.

Forklift safety can easily be achieved by following the tips listed here.

Safety tips for operators

1. Before operating them for the first time in your warehouse, all forklifts need to be inspected by a certified inspector. There should be regular inspections set up at appropriate intervals after using the forklift for a number of months or years to make sure it is still operating in a safe capacity.

2. Any person responsible for operating a forklift should have completed the required training and certification. In addition, they should always be wearing a seatbelt while operating the forklift.

3. Always give pedestrians their right of way. When a pedestrian walks across your intended route, make sure to stop and do not move the forklift again until you are sure that path is clear.

4. When approaching a crosswalk, intersection, or aisle, come to a complete stop and sound the forklift’s horn, so anyone who might not be able to see the forklift is alerted to its presence. When crossing aisles, drive cautiously.

5. Make sure to be aware of the lift capacity, and the relative weights of the items you will be lifting. Do not exceed that capacity or else you will risk damage to the forklift, damage to the merchandise being moved, or damage to shelving. You may also injure people who may be working around the forklift.

6. Pay extra caution to your surroundings when you are turning, steering, or changing directions. Most forklift accidents occur during one of these activities, so steering should always be done in a controlled fashion. Turning too fast or too sharply can cause the forklift to tip over, which could be very dangerous to its operator, the merchandise it is lifting, and any pedestrians or onlookers who are standing too close to it.

Safety tips for pedestrians

7. If you are a pedestrian working in a warehouse while a forklift is being operated, you also bear a great deal of responsibility for your safety. Always make sure you are using designated pedestrian walkways throughout the warehouse.

8. People who operate forklifts are trained to sound their horns when approaching a crosswalk, aisle, or other pedestrian crossing. Listen out for forklift horns so you can be aware of where the forklifts are, even if you cannot see them.

9. Forklifts can have blind spots in their operators’ fields of vision, just like everyday vehicles. If possible, make sure you are maintaining or attempting to maintain eye contact with the operator of a forklift if they are in your line of sight.

10. Another important tip to remember is that forklifts are incredibly heavy machines, and machines as heavy as forklifts often need extra time when hitting the brakes. Lift trucks are not designed to stop suddenly, partially because doing so might cause instability or undue damage to the heavy loads they are made to carry. Keep this fact in mind when crossing walkways and pedestrian crossings that you know are also used by forklift operators to transport merchandise from one area of the warehouse to another.

Final thoughts

Keeping these tips in mind on and off of your forklift can improve safety, as can installing safety-centric pallet racking from Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. which are designed to make warehouses as safe as possible.

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