All employers are responsible for ensuring forklift safety for their employees. Forklifts are involved in 25% of all workplace accidents. The main piece of legislation that governs forklift truck safety is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.The regulations contained within this act cover many aspects of occupational health and safety and are commonly enforced by the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities.
Penalties may be issued to employers who fail to ensure forklift safety. We have developed a quick and easy-to-use forklift safety checklist to help answer the question, ‘How can I ensure forklift truck safety for my workforce?’
Forklift Equipment Safety
Do you have daily equipment safety checklists?
Forklift drivers should be provided with a daily forklift safety checklist to be used without fail at the start of each shift. This forklift checklist should include: tyres, steering, brakes, all moving parts, hoses and pipes and warning devices. Forklift equipment requiring repair should not be used.
Do you have a forklift maintenance policy?
More detailed regular forklift inspections should follow manufacturers instructions. These will relate to the number of hours worked for each forklift so this should be carefully recorded.
Who carries out your forklift maintenance?
Only suitably qualified people (often a dealer service engineer) should carry out forklift truck maintenance and repairs.
Forklift Truck Safety and the Working Environment
Have you provided adequate signage and instruction to ensure a safe forklift-working environment?
Workplace signs should warn of hazardous materials, height restrictions, safety gear requirements or temporary hazards such as wet floors.
Have your operators had site-specific training?
Site-specific training should be given either when an operator moves to a new site or area or when the working environment undergoes changes.
Are speed restrictions and operating distances in place and clearly displayed?
Forklift speed instructions should always be followed and operators should be aware of the expectation to reduce speed for turns. Sudden stops, starts and changes of direction should be avoided and safe-operating distances always observed.
Forklift Truck Loads
Do your forklift operators understand the load specifications for forklift truck safety?
Each driver should be trained on methods to ensure that loads are stable and evenly distributed. Maximum loads should be clearly visible and specified load fastenings and fastening points should be used.
Have you warned your forklift drivers about the dangers of carrying additional personnel on any part of the forklift?
Personnel should not be lifted using a forklift unless there is no other option available. We do not recommend it but if this should become necessary, follow operating instructions and use a specialist work platform and cage.
Have you developed site-specific instructions for unusually shaped loads?
Loads that do not meet usual specifications, i.e. those that are long, wide, tall or rounded, should be planned for individually. An additional member of staff should be available to help with manoeuvring. Work, especially turning, should be completed at a slower rate.
Forklift Safety and Personnel
Do your forklift operators have adequate training?
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) state that for maximum forklift safety your operators should be trained in 3 stages to include:
- Basic training – basic skills, awareness of risks and loads
- Specific job training – tailored to the specific needs of your organisation
- Familiarisation training – carried out on site but under supervision
Have your forklift operators been issued with safety clothing?
Appropriate safety clothing should always be worn when operating a forklift truck. This would include: hi-visibility jackets, hard hats and safety shoes. Operators should be made aware of the risks of loose clothing becoming caught in equipment or controls.
Do your forklift operators understand the importance of correct driver positioning?
When entering and leaving the forklift truck the correct handholds and steps should be used. Seat belts should always be worn, seat position and mirrors should be adjusted to suit each individual driver. For forklift truck safety trucks should only be operated from the seat.
It is in the interests of everybody involved in your organisation to ensure that adequate forklift truck safety measures are taken. At Advanced Forklift Training we offer a range of manual handling and forklift help and advice, as well as training either at your location or at our state-of-the-art training centre. We have packages suitable for both instructors and operators and will be happy to discuss your requirements. Please contact us today for more information.