8 Common Forklift Safety Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Did you know that forklift safety mistakes caused almost 7,300 incidents that required time away from work to recover from in 2020? Forklift safety training is vital for anyone that is planning on operating a forklift in a warehouse or elsewhere. Little things like regular forklift inspections go a long way toward preventing forklift accidents.

There are some forklift accidents that are more common than others, and these are the ones that you should go the extra mile to prevent. Forklift pedestrian safety is just as important as the safety of the operator.

The good news is that you’re in the right spot to learn more about the most common forklift safety mistakes that your employees need to prepare for and avoid. Keep reading this article to learn more today!

  1. Overloading the Forklift

It is easy to try to cut corners when you’re using a forklift but you need to avoid overloading the forklift at all costs. It is much better to take an additional trip and keep everyone around you safe. You need to make use of the loading data at your disposal to make sure that you’re not loading too much weight onto the forklift that you’re using.

Each forklift has a weight limit listed on it in order to keep your employees safe. Failure to recognize the weight limits for the forklift is a guaranteed way to cause an accident that could harm yourself or others.

  1. Speeding

Speeding is another common cause of forklift safety mistakes that lead to injury or worse. You need to operate the forklift like a dangerous and heavy piece of machinery rather than a Formula One car. It can get tempting to get on the throttle of your favorite forklift but it isn’t designed to handle turns at speed, especially with a full load.

It is never a good idea to speed in a forklift and you should avoid doing this at all costs. There are often other vehicles that you need to think about that are operating in your vicinity as well as other heavy objects that could cause a dangerous collision. Drive at a sensible speed to keep yourself and the other people around you safe.

  1. Observe Your Environment

Failure to understand your environment and the layout of the area where you’re operating a forklift is another common cause of forklift accidents. One of the first things that you’ll learn in forklift safety training is the importance of understanding the layout of the facility that you’re working in. Walk around your work area prior to driving through it in order to understand where everything is located.

  1. Poor Communication

Poor communication is dangerous and sometimes fatal in a number of industries. It should come as no surprise that good communication is vital for forklift maintenance and operation at your place of business. There is often a high level of noise in areas where forklifts are operating.

Make sure that you’re always clear with any instructions you give when working around forklifts. It is much more effective than trying to shout at the forklift driver or any pedestrians around you.

  1. Lack of Teamwork

The best forklift operators require some help from their friends here and there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends or coworkers if you have a tricky task ahead of you. The main times to consider asking for help are when you have a heavy or tricky load, or when visibility is obscured and you need an extra set of eyes.

Never be afraid to ask for help. Getting help from trusted individuals will save the business money and save all of your grief and pain.

  1. Narrow Aisles

Narrow aisles are dreaded by any and all forklift operators with a decent amount of experience. It is common for warehouses to have numerous tight spaces given the nature of storing tons of goods in one spot. This often results in a small area where you can operate your forklift in a safe manner.

Make sure that you’re well aware of the size of your forklift and the area where you’re operating. You could accidentally knock over numerous shelves or heavy objects if you’re not careful during your job duties. It could also cause damage to the property that you’re moving or the forklift itself.

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  1. Elevated Loads

Elevated loads on a forklift have bad news written all over them. There is a different style of driving required when you’re driving a forklift with an elevated load, and you should learn this style when you’re getting forklift safety training. Always remember the right way to drive your forklift in order to prevent forklift accidents.

If you’re not sure how to drive a forklift with an elevated load then you should talk with your coworkers and consult the manual. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential forklift safety mistakes.

  1. Unusual Loads

You also need to take special precautions when you’re moving unusual loads. These loads come in all different shapes and sizes, and the weight distribution can make them difficult or tricky to move around your warehouse facility. Other loads are unstable, making them tricky to get where they need to go.

Any time that you’re moving an unusual load you should do your best to proceed with caution. Drive a bit slower and seek help from coworkers when navigating narrow aisles with these types of loads.

Avoid These Forklift Safety Mistakes Today

There are tons of potential forklift safety mistakes that the best forklift operator could make. Narrow aisles make for dangerous spots for forklift pedestrian safety as well as the safety of the forklift operator. Staying on top of forklift maintenance and operation is also vital for the safety of your employees, so consider arranging forklift safety training.

For more helpful and insightful articles like this one, check out the rest of our blog posts.

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