The humble forklift is often the unsung hero of the workplace. Doing all of the heavy lifting, it is often only truly appreciated when it’s out of action getting a service. But the most important part of your arsenal can also be the most dangerous if operated carelessly. It can make your work day a hell of a lot easier, but it demands your complete respect while doing so.
Consider your surroundings
We are going to assume your forklift is functioning normally. Look around your workplace, what obstacles are going to present themselves to you halfway through a job? If you’re carrying a heavy load, that is the time that you are going to have make your way down a ramp, or navigate through a tight passage. Understand what your job is going to contain before you attempt it, and assess whether it is safe for you to proceed with it.
Observe what you are lifting
Majority of the time you may be moving a well packed pallet, but not all loads are symmetrical. Just because you are in the middle of the load, doesn’t mean the weight is perfectly distributed. Best case scenario here is that you are about to maybe spill or drop whatever it is you are carrying, a mistake your boss is probably not going to be too thrilled with. Worst case will see you tipping over, and endangering everybody in the room, you included.
Sight is important
It seems like a no brainer, but people often don’t consider not being able to see until they have a pile of boxes in front of them. When you got your license, you should have demonstrated that you are able to reverse whilst carrying a load. Some skills in life may not be important, but this one could save you a massive damage bill. You can’t carry a load behind you, so use this free line of vision to your advantage.
Do not go near the mast
If working in tandem, the temptation to send a coworker up on the tines can be too great for some people. No amount of time saved is worth this risk. All you need is one slip, or a hydraulic failure, and you have maimed your friend. Go find a ladder, move the obstacle you were trying to reach, and ensure that both of you are going home to your family that night. Your forklift contains more power than you initially comprehend, don’t test it on human bones.