For forklift operators, forklift safety is key and involves inspecting the machines before and after use to ensure that dangerous incidents are kept to a minimum.
Each operator is responsible for keeping their machine in top condition, and if there is anything at all worn or broken that might cause injury it is up to them to report the problem and get it fixed.
Forklift operators are also responsible for the safety of those working around them. It is important to inspect each of the machine’s parts, especially the heels, tips, forks, and hooks.
Because they bear heavy loads, the forks are always strained and could be damaged from normal everyday use. If a fork breaks while carrying or lifting a load people could be hurt and inventory damaged. The same goes for hooks. When cargo is lifted and moved, the hooks are secured to the shaft so that the load is more stable and the forks have some support; if one of these breaks it can cause the load to shift or fall. If a load shifts quickly, the forklift can tip.
The heels are another place to look for damage. These pieces are stressed every time a load is lifted as they support lifting. The weight of a load actually stretches the metal of the shaft and causes tiny cracks which become larger over time. If a crack is visible, then the truck must be repaired. Heels also have contact with the floor, so it is important to check for wear, which can also be visible on tips. If they are damaged or worn it can make loading and unloading difficult.
The tires must also be checked for proper air pressure. If a tire looks fine but actually has low air pressure, it can easily tip over. This can be especially true when lifting and carrying loads or turning. A tire that is low should be filled and checked again to ensure that it is holding air. If not, it must be replaced promptly.
Fueling up should be a part of any post-operation forklift checklist, but checking fuel levels before using the machine helps to make sure that it does not run low, or run out of fuel at a bad time. Oil pressure is important to keep forklifts running well, as well as temperature. Make sure that the machine is not losing oil or water and check the radiator and hoses for leaks.
There are other things that can cause malfunction, like leaking valves, bad liquids, and loose parts. Proper maintenance of the forklift trucks can help them to function well for many years, so it is important to always tell a maintenance crew member about anything that doesn’t look right.
Aside from the machine itself, there are other things to consider. Making sure that all of the safety equipment is there and ready for use keeps the operator safe. Clearing out any loose debris or trash is another very important step to take before operating a forklift because the operator needs a clear path, free of spills and ice whenever possible. Potholes on hard surfaces or soft sand and dips on dirt must be marked clearly to stop avoidable mistakes from happening.
For all of this information, and more, a good forklift training company is a perfect provider of safety information. Forklift training places safety practices into the minds of operators and provides them with reasons to make these checks before a shift. It helps them to remember exactly why things are done as they are, making them really think about their responsibilities and what could happen if they do not take them seriously.