An industrial warehouse can be one of the most dangerous places to work. Employees have a lot of workplace risks to keep track of at all times, including complex machinery, uncontrolled traffic, and the desire to optimize productivity.
Luckily, there are a few simple tips that workers can employ and, in addition with adequate safety training and planning, significantly reduce the amount of workplace accidents. Proper training and safety precautions prevents employee injury and helps avoid damage to inventory and equipment, such as forklifts.
1. Preventing Truck Tip-Overs. The first most common type of forklift-related workplace accident is forklift tip-over. When this occurs, often a worker’s first instinct is to jump off the forklift. However, this is extremely dangerous because it puts the employee at risk for getting crushed by the lift; since a forklift weighs several tons, it could break bones or lead to more serious injuries.
To avoid the chance of a tip-over, employees should apply these simple safety tips:
- Slow down before turning. The driver should maintain the reduced-speed throughout the turn, turning the steering wheel slowly.
- Lower the forks and tilt them back while driving the forklift, to keep the load stable.
- Obey the equipment’s maximum weight capacity. Do not overload the truck.
- Do not move unstable loads. If a load is oddly shaped, tall, or wide, move it very slowly and carefully.
- Perform regular assessments as part of any safety training program. The forklift test should assess the worker’s ability to maneuver the truck and avoid tip-overs.
2. Addressing Irresponsible Driving. Irresponsible driving and horseplay is the second most common source for accidents in an industrial workplace. Supervisors should immediately address any horseplay or irresponsible driving as it put the safety of the worker at risk, as well as other workers and pedestrians.
Since forklifts are so heavy and difficult to operate, even experienced forklift operators are at risk for making mistakes. So, if an employee is behaving unprofessionally or dangerously, especially if it is intentional, they should be disciplined to risking their own and other’s safety.
3. Ensure the Safety of Nearby Pedestrians and Workers. It is the responsibility of the forklift operator to avoid pedestrians. To avoid injury or accidents involving surrounding workers and pedestrians, remember the following precautions:
- Pedestrians always have the right-of-way, just like a when a regular vehicle is on the road. Give the pedestrian the right-of-way even if they walk in the forklift’s driving path.
- Drivers should always look in the direction the forklift is traveling, whether it is forwards or backwards.
- Always honk the horn at blindspots and intersections.
- Always assume pedestrians are not paying attention, even if there are adequate markings and warning signs. If you think an employee might not be paying attention, stop moving and make eye contact.
- Never let employees near the forklift unless they are operating it, and never let an employee walk beneath the forks, even if there is no load.
- In case of blocked visibility because of a tall load, drive backward. If you cannot drive backward, drive with a spotter.
- Make sure no employees are near the path of travel, and drive slowly.
- Never lift a load that requires another worker to hold the load in position while the forklift moves,a s this is extremely risky.