Forklifts are essential for lifting and moving heavy loads on the job, but injuries related to these extremely powerful machines can be quite serious. Because they often need to navigate through tight spaces, they are generally small and narrow, making tipping a common problem. Tipping is frequently caused when operators are not aware of the machine’s load capacity, and overload the lift. The best ways to avoid tipping and other accidents are: comprehensive operator safety training and thorough preoperational inspections.
One in fifteen forklift-related accidents is caused by improper maintenance and, as such, inspections should occur at the start of each work shift. Individuals working with and around forklifts should be trained not only on how to properly operate the machinery, but also on recognizing hazards associated with the equipment and environment in which they are being operated. Forklift Safety Signs will help remind workers of hazards and procedures. Some maintenance areas not to be overlooked during pre-shift inspection are: tires, hoses, brakes, gas and propane tanks, and lift mechanisms. Upon sighting an issue or potential issue, it should be tagged immediately for a trained professional to fix. Special care should be taken to ensure that new, young, and seasonal operators are properly trained and in compliance. Further tips and checklists are available on The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety site, which will also help you prepare for the upcoming Ministry of Labour Material Handling blitz that begins on September 15th.