Forklift, also known as the powered industrial truck, is employed for transporting materials over short distances. They come in various kinds of sizes and capacities to help move, push, pull and lift items to arrange in stacks or organize them on a storage rack. They are powered through batteries, propane, gasoline, or diesel.
A forklift operator is a professional who operates this machine to carry heavy items around sites like warehouses, storage or construction sites, industrial factories, etc. They work under the command of supply chain managers or warehouse managers.
Operating a forklift requires skill, expertise, and thorough practice. You need to use a forklift with great care or else it might lead to serious accidents and casualties. Based on research, 95 people suffer from serious injuries in a forklift accident every day, with 36% of these deaths being accounted for by pedestrians. As a forklift operator, you are held responsible for the safe transportation and maintenance of all the materials. You need to make sure that the loads are in a secure condition.
There is also a facility where you can rent a forklift from forklift hire companies if you are looking for assistance in moving things around.
Now, let’s dive into some tips you can follow to perfect yourself as a forklift operator:
1. Inculcate the habit of driving often
The saying “Practice makes a man perfect” makes complete sense here. Being able to drive safely requires effort and a great deal of practice. It’s only how you will be able to improve upon your existing techniques. In your workplace, try getting hold of as many opportunities as possible to operate the forklift.
You may also get enrolled in forklift training, where you will get to invest more of your time and learn new skills and techniques. Also, before starting the machine, thoroughly inspect the machine to watch out for any faulty tires, mast, compliant plate, etc. Being ignorant in these aspects is one of the major reasons resulting in accidents.
After your shift is over, check the machinery once again to make sure that every equipment and control is in correct shape.
2. Ensure appropriate clothing
Dressing appropriately while operating a forklift is a must. Wearing fitting clothes is important since loose clothing might get stuck in the machine and lead to great inconvenience.
For ensuring safety, wear a hard hat, a pair of safety shoes, and a high-visibility jacket. Don’t control any portion of the forklift when your hands are greasy. It might result in sliding off of the controls and might cause a fatal accident. Make sure your hands are dry before you begin driving the forklift.
3. Don’t overload the forklift and make sure that the loads are evenly distributed
Be well aware of the capacity of the attachments being used and make sure you don’t cross it. Overloading can result in the lifting of the rear tyres off the ground and can cause the forklift to upturn.
Ensure raising or moving an item only when both the forks are loaded. Don’t carry loads with one fork. Absolutely refrain from using pallets that are damaged or faulty for holding goods.
4. Consider the environment you are operating in
Always adhere to the rules and regulations of your workplace while operating a forklift. You are only supposed to drive the forklift on the roads designated for its operation.
Watch out for all signs in your surroundings. Stay focused and don’t submit to any sort of distractions. Once you become a qualified operator, you are subjected to less invigilation and are granted more freedom. So, it’s absolutely crucial for you to stay vigilant at all times.
Make sure you maintain a reasonable distance from the edge of a loading dock or a ramp. Abstain from working on bridge plates, unless they are well equipped to support the weight of the forklift as well as the load.
Over to you…
All in all, forklifts are of great benefit to mankind and make the transportation of heavy goods easier. But, it’s essential for a forklift operator to be highly qualified in driving it around. Being irresponsible and careless even once can lead to serious hazards and fatalities. Make sure you follow the tips, safety measures, and precautions mentioned above and you are good to go!