If you are relatively new to running a warehouse, you should focus on safety above all else. This is especially true when it comes to forklifts. Since forklifts account for 85 deaths and more than 34,000 serious injuries each year in the U.S., forklift safety is not to be taken lightly. Here are some tips to follow — and to encourage your employees to follow — in order to keep everyone safe.
Check the warning sensors
Most forklift operators rely on a number of warning sensors to guide them as they work. There may be a forklift warning sensor that causes the forklift seat to vibrate when the lift gets too close to something. There should also be safety lights that flash brightly to alert other workers when the forklift is coming down the aisle. When these sensors fail without anyone noticing, accidents happen. Make checking these sensors a part of your morning routine before anyone uses the forklift. If a sensor is non-operational, have it replaced before the lift is used again.
Only let qualified operators use the lift
Check who has been using the forklift. Have they all received the proper training and certification? If they have not, send them in for training before allowing them to use the lift again. Even if they insist they know what they are doing, unqualified workers are a common cause of accidents.
Provide visibility clothing
Require that anyone operating the forklift wear a safety vest, hard hat, and safety shoes. This not only keeps the operator safe but also allows others to see the operator coming from a distance. Periodically check to ensure your employees are wearing proper apparel when running the forklift.
Make sure you have clear signs posted
There should be maximum height signs posted in any lower areas of your facility. You should also have floor load signs, which specify how much weight each portion of the floor can support. Your forklift operators will reference these as they drive.
Keep roadways clear
Another part of your morning routine should be checking that the roadways used by the forklifts are clear. Accidents can happen when forklifts run something over or when the driver swerves to avoid hitting something. It's not a bad idea to re-check the aisles or roadways at lunchtime, too.
With the tips above, you can maintain a safer warehouse facility. Ask your experienced forklift operators if they have any additional input.