Forklift operating may seem simple from the outside, but it’s a task that calls for immense precision and responsibility. In the wrong hands, these machines are dangerous, but responsible operators behind the wheels reduce the dangers substantially. Promote better workplace practices in yourself using these helpful tips for new forklift operators.
Make Inspections Your New Habit
One of the best skills a forklift operator can have is sharp observation. Before stepping behind the wheel of a forklift, operators must complete a full inspection of their machine to ensure all maintenance is complete, no damages are present, and the machine is ready to operate responsibly. If you’re new to forklift operation, then the inspection may feel meaningless after you get used to the job. But it’s always critical, so don’t skip this step.
This isn’t just for one type of forklift—all types require care and knowledge to handle safely. Moreover, forklift attachments require careful inspection. In fact, inspections are among the most important safety tips for using forklift booms in the workplace.
Remember That Loads Require Careful Inspections
Observational skills are also critical when you’re loading products onto the forks. Even if the forklift components themselves are fine, improper loading techniques can still result in costly damages or serious injuries. Crates and pallets elevated on the forks can fall onto nearby personnel and objects, such as shelves, forklifts, etc. Thus, you should keep your inspection habits ready to go even after the pre-operation inspection.
Communicate and Don’t Assume
Communication is critical when working around forklifts, especially if you’re behind the wheel. As mentioned above, being a safe forklift operator requires good observational skills. That includes being aware of your surroundings too. For example, if there’s foot traffic in a work zone while you’re using a forklift, you’ll want other workers to understand proper safety protocols and keep the area clear for you.
However, if you’re unsure if someone sees they’re in your way or even near the forklift, speak to them verbally so that they stay out of your path. This is especially critical when you have someone in your blind spot. They can step into your path without you even seeing them do it. In fact, if you need assistance maneuvering blind spots safely, don’t hesitate to ask additional personnel for assistance spotting you. That way, with the help of these tips for new forklift operators, you can all keep the work area a safer place to operate in during each shift.