According to studies conducted by the Occupational Health & Safety Act, over 700 forklift related accidents occur in Ontario every year.
During recent government inspections, there are a few main problems that tend to stand out. This includes an operator’s knowledge of how much weight their forklift can handle, proper maintenance of forklifts and competency of the operator in regards to safe forklift operation.
Here are 5 tips to help you operate your forklift safely.
1. Is there enough operating space for not only a forklift, but for a pedestrian as well?
If you are operating a forklift, you need ample space to move around and you need to ensure that the ground is clutter free. Creating a separate path for pedestrians will help your workplace to function more efficiently in a safer environment.
2. Is your training up to date?
Refreshers courses are a great way to make sure all operators are up to date on current regulations that are in place. Ensure you are getting your renewal done every 3 years and that you review your notes frequently. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Safety First Training or the ministry for more details.
3. Operate your forklift with proper techniques; no horse playing.
When operating a forklift, you need to have your full attention to all details around you and you need to focus on proper driving techniques. You should never use headphones to listen to music while operating a forklift and, more importantly, you should never text and drive. Take extra care to ensure all loads are even in weights and make sure to lower your speed to avoid tipping accidents.
4. Ensure you are properly trained on the correct forklift
Once you get a forklift licence you need to make sure you can operate the correct machine. If you are operating multiple machines, you need to be training in each of them individually. Check with your employer to see if you require more training (click here for a list of our training courses)
5. Keep your machine in top condition
Just like a car, forklifts require regular maintenance in order to work properly. You should always check to ensure everything is in working condition before operating. This includes checking the steering, shift linkage, transmission, brake or clutch.