5 Forklift Safety Procedures You Need to Follow

September 04, 2020

Two male workers following forklift safety tips in a warehouse

Forklift safety procedures protect the health and safety of employees and visitors. Material handling equipment is dangerous and should be operated with that fact in mind.

Roughly 20,000 forklift injuries are reported annually. The number of fatalities continues to rise each year. Many of those accidents are preventable with proper forklift safety procedures.

On top of that, violations of OSHA forklift rules are in the top 10 OSHA violations each year, which amounts to thousands of dollars in fines. Following OSHA forklift safety rules can save you money.

Learn more about how to implement OSHA forklift regulations at your workplace today. Forklift Inventory is here to help your business succeed. Use these five forklift safety tips to protect your employees, visitors, and wallet.

Forklift Safety Procedures

A solid safety plan is necessary for the success of your operation. Ensure compliance with OSHA forklift rules by implementing these simple guidelines:

1. Follow OSHA forklift regulations for training.

OSHA requires proper training for all forklift operators. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that each employee complies with OSHA guidelines. That means you could receive a citation for violating OSHA forklift safety rules if one of your operators isn’t trained.

Operators must be certified to use each class of forklift that they will operate. OSHA forklift regulations separate lifting equipment into six main classifications based on applications, fuel type, and features. Training includes licensure, routine evaluations, and renewal training. OSHA forklift regulations cover training topics here.

2. Know about common forklift hazards.

Common forklift hazards include dropping loads, tipping over, and falling from the equipment. Forklift safety procedures are in place to prevent these accidents.

Secure loads tightly before moving. Do not travel with excessive speed or imbalanced loads, as these are the two leading causes of forklift tipping. Only operate outside on uneven ground if you have proper rough terrain equipment with pneumatic tires. Otherwise, the forklift could lose balance or get stuck.

3. Create a pre-operation checklist.

OSHA forklift regulations state that forklift operators should assess equipment before each use. Create a pre-operation checklist and post it near the machine for your employees to follow as part of daily forklift safety procedures.

Make sure the checklist includes checking for visible defects, proper fluid levels, and functioning safety features. Find a full list of pre-operation checklist items here.

4. Add signage & safety features to your workplace.

Post forklift safety tips around the facility. Implement a floor marking system to eliminate confusion. Notate forklift-only zones and pedestrian-only zones. Designate cross-walks and install traffic signs to help operators follow a structured method of travel.

Implement forklift safety procedures for safe forklift operation. Any operating surface should be rated for four times the amount of weight carried by the forklift. All areas should be well-lit and free of obstructions.

5. Direct employees to wear protective clothing.

Regardless of whether or not they are operating forklift equipment, employees should wear reflective vests for easy visibility. Provide hard hats and steel-toed boots. Crushing injuries and falling items are high risks in facilities that use material handling equipment.

Educate your employees on the importance of forklift safety procedures and warn them of the risks associated with failing to follow them.

Warehouse forklift operated per OSHA forklift safety rules

Implementing Forklift Safety Tips

Following these forklift safety tips will protect workers and visitors. However, not everyone will want to follow the protocol. It’s up to you to evaluate each operator’s performance routinely to ensure that they are complying with OSHA forklift rules.

If they don’t, the financial burden falls on you. Make sure everyone understands the importance of OSHA forklift safety rules to avoid citations.

However, no matter how cautious your workers are, safety could still be compromised. For instance, the quality of your equipment plays a role. Routine maintenance ensures that your forklift is in good working order and prevents violations of OSHA forklift rules.

A big part of equipment maintenance is knowing when to replace your forklift. When your maintenance costs surpass the value a forklift brings to your business, it’s a good time to invest in new equipment. If you opt for used machinery, keep safety in mind. Assess the forklift carefully to ensure that it is in good condition.

Sound like a lot of work? Let Forklift Inventory help. We carry the largest inventory of new and used forklifts for sale from pre-screened dealers. Find trustworthy, reliable equipment in minutes.

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