While they may not seem as impressive as some of their larger machine brethren, forklifts are powerful pieces of equipment that demand respect. If the operator is not constantly aware of what is happening around them accidents can happen, leading to the damage or loss of property or, at worst, human life. Here are some common mistakes that can create a dangerous situation for the forklift operator and those working around them as well.
Miscommunication between the operator and other employees is a huge contributor towards workplace accidents. Operators should always use the forklift’s signals and lights to convey their intent to other employees. If these signals aren’t functioning properly the forklift should probably not be used. If the job is urgent and cannot wait, the operator should use loud and clear speech to convey his intent or previously agreed-upon hand signals that other employees understand clearly. The backup alarm is an important part of the signaling system and should be functioning properly, especially because the operator may not see what is behind them.
Forgetting to Check Hydraulic Fluid
Low hydraulic fluid levels can have disastrous consequences. The forklift can fail when lifting a heavy load, leading to the goods or materials being damaged and possibly hurting anyone nearby. Checking the forklift’s hydraulic fluid promotes the safety of your goods and materials as well as your workers.
Forgetting to Check Gas/Battery
Forgetting to ensure that the forklift is adequately fueled or powered can lead to catastrophic accidents and loss of materials or personnel. It is something that is quick and simple to do, which unfortunately also makes it easy to overlook. Assure that your employees are vigilant about checking gas and battery levels to protect them as well as your investments.
Doing Too Much by Yourself
Being overworked leads to distraction and a loss of focus, creating a potentially dangerous situation for everyone around the forklift. It is better to ask for a helping hand and do a safe job slowly than do it yourself and get a dangerous job done quickly. When working with machinery with destructive potential like forklifts there are no stupid questions, take the time to make sure you understand what you are doing and that you don’t have too much on your plate to do the job well.