Jul 2020

Forklift Safety 101

Forklifts are an essential part of every good warehouse. These vehicles find plenty of uses in warehouses and help in moving heavy loads and containers. Additionally, these vehicles can be used to establish a temporary platform for work to elevate things, however the whole process should be backed with proper safety at all times. While these vehicles are really useful in saving time and effort, a little carelessness around forklifts can bring about seriously hazardous consequences. These vehicles can help in saving a handful of time and energy, if used sensibly and safely. Therefore, it is necessary to build an environment in a warehouse where everyone is cautious of forklifts and always try to stay at a safe distance. The use of warning signs and forklift safety barriers are just some of the many ways to ensure a safe working environment and prevent any injuries or damage. 

We have put together some of the top safety tips to consider while working with and around forklifts in a warehouse to ensure utmost safety:

Effective Traffic Plan:

Create a seamless traffic management plan involving everyone present at the workplace including forklift operators, pedestrians, drivers of external vehicles, supervisors, and workers. This plan includes safety regulations and engineering controls. The main objective should be to split pedestrian workers from forklifts used for lifting and stacking loads in the warehouse. It should be made sure that everyone is following those SOPs to limit the number of accidents in the workplace.

Install Physical Barriers:

The use of physical barriers and guard railing will effectively help in splitting pedestrians and forklifts. The use of these engineering controls help in reducing the accidents at places where workers interact with equipment. Collisions between forklifts and pedestrians in an uncontrolled working environment can lead to deadly consequences, thus, it is necessary to use barriers and guardrails to protect pedestrians from moving forklifts in the working premises. 

Spread Awareness:

Supervisors should go one step further in making sure that everyone knows the SOPs of traffic management plans and are aware of the safety measures in order to avoid accidents in the warehouse. They should involve every single individual working in the premises regarding safety in the workplace. Supervisors and security auditors should encourage workers to raise questions about multiple risks and inform their fellows about the hazards that need to be eliminated. They should also make sure that every worker attends group meetings, safety seminars, and toolbox talks.

Proper Implementation of SOPs:

Executives should emphasise on implementation of the traffic management plan strictly and instruct everyone to follow the SOPs of the traffic management plan. The critical elements involved in a traffic plan are solid barriers,  inward opening gates, painted walkways, and flashing hazard lights. There should be proper indication of safe zones for every kind of worker in the working premises. Once an external vehicle enters the premises of the warehouse, he should be treated as a regular employee and safely escorted to the destination through painted walkways. There should be a proper driver waiting zone for drivers in the workplace to ensure their safety.

Feasible Scheduling:

While the best way to minimise the number of accidents in a warehouse premises is application of engineering controls like guardrails and physical barriers. There are some zones where the application of safety equipment is not possible, in order to eliminate hazards during work in these zones, executives should create a feasible schedule for forklift operators and rest of the workers to prevent them from working in the same area at the same time.

Regular Inspection:

In addition to all these measures safety inspection of forklifts is also necessary to protect forklift operators and other workers from accidents happening because of failure of equipment. The inspectors should keep an eye out for any wear and tear in tyres, fork bars, and controls of forklifts.