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10 Tips to Ride Forklifts Safely

Posted by Nathalie Parpal on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 15:02

10 Tips to Ride Forklifts Safely

Riding a forklift carries numerous responsibilities. For this reason, many rules must be respected before and during the use of the forklift to ensure a safe riding. Here are 10 safety tips to decrease risks of accident with a forklift.


1-Inspect the forklift before starting work

Even before getting on the forklift, the driver must perform an inspection of the vehicle to make sure that the components are in good condition. From the tires to the forks, as well as the battery, the oil and liquid coolant levels, a complete verification is necessary.


2- Verify the proper functioning of the forklift when moving

It is the driver’s responsibility to verify that the forklift doesn’t represent any danger. Everything starts with the steering of the forklift as well as the efficiency of the front and rear brakes. Hydraulic controls used for inclination and elevation of the mast must also be tested. For the employees’ safety, the horn must be functional at all times.


3- Ensure adequate visibility at all times

For his own safety and the other employees’, the forklift driver must have complete visibility during all of his use. Consequently, he must adjust the convex security mirrors, the backup alarms – sound and light – to signal his presence to nearby pedestrians. It is also highly recommended to look afar to spot potential danger.


4- Identify causes for toppling

A forklift can topple over in front if the load is too heavy or if the load’s center of gravity is too far from the recommended center of gravity. A forklift can also topple on the side, excessive speed and a too narrow turning radius being the two main causes. If a topple happens, it’s important to remain in the forklift at all times


5- Observe certain safety guidelines

Many basic guidelines must be respected when using a forklift. In addition to know how to step in and step out in a safe manner, the driver must drive the forklift at a safe speed and must be ready to brake at any moment. During a procedure, he must ensure there isn’t a pedestrian in the zone. When he drives near pedestrians, he must constantly be alert and be highly careful.


6- Handling the loads carefully

When he handles a load, the driver must be patient and thorough. After delicately lifting the load, he must go to the designed spot for the stacking. It’s only after stopping the forklift that he’ll be able to lift the load at the required height. The driver will then bring the fork arm to the horizontal and slowly put the load down. Before retrieving the fork and back up the fork lift, it’s important to make sure the path is free. For loadouts, also known as unstacking, the procedure is relatively the same but in reverse order.


7- Freeing the roadways

Obstructed pathways can endanger employees and result in material damage to equipment and forklifts. Consequently, freeing roadways allow free circulation of forklifts and highly decreases the risks of accidents.


8- Using pallets in good condition

To avoid causing damage to forklift or material, it’s important to check the condition of the used pallets and avoid using those that are broken. The driver must be vigilant to not drive over defective pieces of pallets, because this could cause significant damages to the forklift


9-Lift a passenger in proper manner

The forklift must mandatorily be supplied with a lifting platform fixed to the deck framing the forks. If the platform doesn’t have lifting control, the driver must stay in his position at all times. The worker lifted on the lifting platform must mandatorily wear a safety harness and attach himself to the platform. For the safety of the lifted worker, the forklift must stay still at all times.


10- Pay particular attention to hazardous zones

During a procedure on a dock or shipping bridge, the driver of the forklift will first check the condition of the bridge as well as his maximum load. In a slope, the forks of the forklift will point to the bottom of the slope if it’s empty and to the top of the slope if it’s loaded. The forklift must never turn when it’s in a slope.


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