Forklifts are used by several types of industries as they are powerful, versatile little machines. In the hands of a good operator, a forklift can safely carry heavy loads and navigate restricted spaces. They can, however, also be quite dangerous when not operated carefully. The forklift rentals and sales experts at Westminster Lift Truck Services, in Vancouver, suggest following a few basic safety tips when operating a lift truck.
Qualified operators. Forklifts should only be operated by properly trained and licensed operators. They may seem easy to operate, but not handling them properly can lead to severe accidents, injuring the driver or others around the machine.
Examine before use. Before using a forklift, the operator should perform a verification of the machine. The mast, fuel tank, hydraulics and tires need to be checked to make sure they are not damaged or in poor working condition. The operator should also make sure the brakes and warning devices are working properly before picking up a load.
Speed and environment. Make sure you know the layout of the spaces you will be travelling, and that you have enough room to maneuver the forklift safely. Avoid making abrupt stops or taking hard turns, especially if you’re carrying a load. Look for any overhanging equipment or cables that could snag your mast or load as your travel. Travel at safe speeds to protect yourself, the equipment, and other workers.
Secure the load. Any load you pick up should be within acceptable limits for your forklift in terms of weight. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed, and that all parts are stable, and secured properly. Make sure you travel with your forks as low as the ground will permit, and that your load is tilted back and that its weight is distributed evenly over the forks.
Use properly. Do not allow passengers to ride on the forks or load. If you must raise another worker, use a properly fastened cage built for this purpose. Do not attempt to lift heavy loads with the tip of the forks as this may cause them to break, or your rear tires to lift off the ground.
When you’re done. Park the forklift in a secure location, out of the travel path of other workers or machinery. Lower the forks all the way to the ground, use the parking break, and never walk away from a running forklift.