How to Prioritize Forklift Safety in Your Warehouse

June 26, 2020

Prioritizing forklift safety is critical to the success of any business that utilizes heavy lifting equipment. Thousands of workers are injured every year by powered industrial trucks. Enforcing safety standards minimizes employee injuries, large fines, and lost productivity.

Male workers in a lift truck discussing OSHA forklift regulations

Forklift accidents cost businesses, on average, $135,000,000 each year. More importantly, these accidents cost employees their lives. Implementing a standard of operation can minimize these losses. When workers know exactly what forklift safety protocols to follow, there is no room for error or confusion.

Prioritizing safety means prioritizing efficiency. Well-trained powered industrial truck drivers are more productive. They know how to use the most efficient methods while minimizing risk.

Training is just one of many ways to ensure forklift safety at your workplace. We’ve created a list of comprehensive forklift safety tips that you can implement immediately to increase overall warehouse safety.

Forklift Inventory has the best interests of your business in mind. Check out these simple forklift safety tips.

OSHA Forklift Regulations

OSHA forklift fines can range from $7,000 to $70,000. That’s a lot of money. It’s important to understand OSHA forklift regulations in order to avoid these costly fees.

Many OSHA standards address training, and for good reason. Reports have shown that after training, there’s a 61% increase in operator performance scores. On the same note, a whopping 70% of forklift accidents could’ve been prevented with adequate forklift training.

In standard 1910.178(I)(2)(ii), OSHA states that forklift training should include these three things:

- Formal instruction

- Practical training

- Evaluation of performance in the workplace

OSHA also makes it clear that it is the employer’s responsibility to make sure their forklift operators have proper training and certification.

Employers must train and evaluate forklift operators every three years to ensure that their skills and knowledge are up to date. Operators should also undergo refresher training any time they receive a poor evaluation, have been involved in an accident, have had a near-miss incident, or have been observed operating a powered industrial truck in an unsafe manner.

Refresher training is also necessary whenever an operator is assigned to a different type of powered industrial truck or when workplace conditions change in a way that could affect operation.

OSHA does make a note in standard 1910.178(l)(5) titled “Avoidance of Duplicative Training”, effectively excluding some people from refresher training. It states that powered industrial truck operators who have received previous training, undergone evaluation, and have been found competent to operate the truck safely do not need additional training on the topics assessed.

Forklift Safety Tips

Now that we’ve gone over OSHA forklift regulations, where should you start? Here are a few forklift safety tips that you can implement immediately in your warehouse:

1. Educate your employees.

Educate your employees on forklift safety standards. Inform them of the statistics associated with forklift accidents and implore them to take operation seriously. Help them understand the different classes of forklifts and the OSHA forklift regulations for each one.

Be sure to notify employees of common hazards that might compromise forklift safety. Communication is the key to running a successful and safe business.

2. Create visual safety aids.

Promote forklift safety by displaying signage to remind operators of proper protocol. Post visual aids for common pedestrian crossing areas, speed limits, checklists, and inspection requirements. Use signs to mark important places, such as the exits, loading docks, inventory shelving, and more.

3. Implement a floor marking system.

Consider applying wayfinding signage or arrows to the ground to help operators and pedestrians navigate your workspace without crossing paths. This will help promote overall warehouse safety by keeping everyone on the same page. Set your business up for success with a smooth and clear workflow.

4. Routinely check your facility.

Take walks around your facility regularly to assess its condition. Look for any new changes or potential hazards. Ensure that operators are following correct procedures. Check signage for readability. Increasing your awareness will help you catch minor issues before they become major ones.

5. Create a daily pre-operational checklist.

OSHA forklift regulations require that operators assess equipment daily. Create and post a pre-operational checklist for your operators to use. OSHA provides sample pre-operational checklists here.

Warehouse safety protocol for counterbalanced forklift

Prioritizing Warehouse Safety

Making warehouse safety the top priority sets your employees and business up for success. Implement these forklift safety tips and make sure your employees are properly trained. Not only are well-trained operators more productive, but they’ll also take care of your fleet by using the equipment correctly without damaging it.

Keep in mind that overall warehouse safety starts with quality equipment. Our forklift safety tips can only go so far. If your equipment is in poor condition or needs to be replaced, the only way to maintain safety is by replacing it.

Forklift Inventory has the equipment you need for safe operation. We offer the largest inventory of new and used forklifts for sale online. Let us know what equipment you need and we’ll send you free pricing and information on machines that match.

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