A forklift (also called lift truck, jitney, fork truck, fork hoist, and forklift truck) is a powered industrial truck used to lift and move materials over short distances. forklifts are one of the most common vehicles around a workplace. Although they are very useful equipment, forklifts are guilty of being involved in many serious injury accidents, mostly due to improper, careless operation.
OSHA Requirements — cover regulations for equipment of this type. Vehicles may be referred to as: Forklifts, high-lift trucks, fork trucks, low-lift trucks, cantilever trucks, motorized hand/rider trucks, and etc. OSHA estimates that because of unsafe forklift operations, more than 100 people are killed, and nearly 95,000 are seriously injured every year. These are the primary causes for fatal or serious forklift accidents:
- Vehicle tip-overs 4 Being hit by falling material from a dropped load
- Being crushed between the vehicle and another surface 5 Falling from a platform on the forks
- Getting struck by the vehicle 6 Running the forklift off a loading dock, ramp, or other surface
These accidents are caused by operator errors. Well trained drivers have very few mishaps. All drivers must complete training and be evaluated before they’re allowed to operate a fork-truck without direct supervision. They must be re-evaluated every 3 years. Re-training can be triggered by having an accident, near misses, re-assignment to different equipment or workplace, or observations of unsafe operation. All employers must certify that each of his operators has been properly trained and is competent to operate the forklift in a careful, safe manner.
Basic Forklift Operations:
- Do not allow anybody underneath raised forks, regardless whether forks are loaded or empty
- Handle only loads that are stable and safely arranged; secure palletized material as needed.
- Do not handle loads in excess of the truck’s or any attached component’s rated capacity.
- Always place forks under the load as far as possible when lifting; then stabilize by slight rearward tilting of the mast.
- Do not tilt mast forward unless setting the load down.
- Overhead and back guards must be in place to protect operator from risk of falling loads.
- Use only safety platforms to lift people.
Hazards of workplace forklift use
- Maneuvering. A forklift doesn’t move in the same way that a car does.
- Blind spots. The load being carried can create blind spots for the operator.
- Load stability. Trucks and their loads can become unstable when operating on inclines, on wet, oily surfaces, and on rough terrain.
- Falling of objects
Forklift operator responsibility –
- Identify and report faulty equipments, damages, and safety concerns to Supervisor immediately.
- Load and unload products from trailers using forklift trucks and other material handling equipment.
- Store the products in proper places in warehouse.
- Transport products to and from warehouse and distribution centers.
- Deliver products to various units in safely and timely manner.
- Sort, pack, wrap, tie and label products as per company procedures.
- Weigh products and record weight and other data in product labels.
- Monitor and maintain accurate inventory.
- Move and load hazardous wastes under direction of supervisor.
- Clean work area and equipment regularly by removing empty pallets, wood and plastic.
- Follow company standards and legal regulations to ensure safe and positive work atmosphere.
When traveling in the forklift, follow these safety rules:
- Approval by a competent person is needed to operate equipment in a hazardous location; most accidents occur while moving.
- Watch where you are going and keep a clear view. If the load obstructs your view, drive in reverse with load in rear.
- Never drive up to anyone standing in front of fixed objects.
- No riders allowed unless vehicle is specifically designed for a passenger.
- When carrying a load, keep it as low as possible. Raise fork only as needed to clear road surface
- Always keep to the right in 2-way traffic
- No speeding; slow down on wet, slippery surfaces and when turning
- Keep vehicle under control at all times to ensure and maintain safe stopping capability
- When approaching or crossing obstructed vision locations, or blind spots, slow down and sound the horn.
- Be sure of sufficient clearances to overhead obstructions such as lighting fixtures, pipes, conduit, or ductwork.
- Stay within rated capacities of dock boards, bridge plates, or any other elevated structures.
- Always make sure structures are secure before driving on them.
- Keep a safe distance from the edges of docks, ramps and platforms.