One of the important steps in dealing with forklift safety is recognizing why and where accidents commonly happen.
The frequent cause of an accident at the workplace is just by leaving the forklift idle for long period of time or by just parking it in undesignated location. Parking or leaving a forklift may seem a simple duty. But when it is parked improperly, it could pose a very serious hazard. This simple mistake could create a safety issue in the workplace.
Here are the places not to leave or park the forklift at work:
- Never leave the forklift where it could block any passageway of pedestrian and it should not block any exit or entrance of the workplace.
- Never leave the forklift on an inclined slope where it could tip over especially when it is loaded with materials. If the truck becomes immobilized on a slope or ramp, the wheels should be wedged and secured and the emergency brake is engaged until such repair can be done.
- Never leave the forklift in refueling area. The refueling area is only designated for that purpose only.
- Never leave the truck near a fire exit or near firefighting appliances, it could block the passageway in the event of a fire.
- The truck cannot be left near fire lanes where it could get in the way and block the emergency vehicles and personnel.
- Do not leave the truck where the flow of other vehicles in the workplace may be obstructed.
- Do not park the forklift in a location with its fork arms protruding the passageway, where there are a lot of pedestrians who will have to step over them.
- Do not leave the truck in any access doorways and it should not block any stairways of the workplace.
- Never leave the truck near first aid stations. An accident could happen anytime and anywhere, the first aid station should be clear and accessible in such event.
- The forklift must not be left where there are sources of heat or open flames, or in any place near a source of ignition.
Good Practices to Follow When Leaving the Forklifts Idle
An unattended forklift is a big danger to the operator and to other workers around unless it is secured. Here are the good practices you can follow when leaving a forklift or when you have finished working with it:
- The forklift should only be operated by an operator who is properly trained and certified. The employer must evaluate the operator’s competency in handling the powered industrial truck. If retraining is needed, it is the employer’s responsibility to give them the refresher training.
- The employer should designate an area where operators can park their forklifts.
- Secure the forklift with wedge before leaving it unattended. The operator should be the one to do this. Set the brakes and engage the emergency brake.
- Park the forklift in an approved area designated by the supervisor. The area should have proper safety signs cautioning the operators of the good habits.
- Lower the forks or blades to the floor. If it is loaded, make sure the load is completely on the ground and the forks are tilted forward before leaving the truck.
- Neutralize the controls. The controls should be in neutral position before the forklift operator leave the compartment. If the truck is running, the operator can dismount only if the emergency brake is engaged.
- Turn off the motor switch. The key should be removed to avert unauthorized operation of the forklift. Return the key to a safe place for safe-keeping.
- The forklift operator should stay behind within 25 feet of the truck and the truck should remain in the operator's view at all times.
- When the forklift is being operated near a railroad, it should be at least 8 feet away from the railroad junction.
- If the forklift is gas or diesel-powered, its fuel supply valve at the cylinder must be closed when the forklift is to be left for a long time. If the truck is idle overnight, close the fuel supply valve and then start the engine until the fuel in the line is exhausted.
To Conclude This
Forklifts are an extremely useful piece of heavy equipment. They can easily get the job done. But because of their characteristic of being heavy, improper use of it can cause serious harm to its operator and to the bystanders in the workplace.
A common mistake operators make in handling the forklift is just by leaving it anywhere in the workplace. This is a habit most operators do. There are places not leave forklift at work and those are cited above.
Do the good practices, as suggested, to mitigate the risk and danger associated with forklift operation at work.