A forklift is almost certainly going to be an invaluable tool in at least one part of your manufacturing facility, if not several. As such, you need to make sure those vehicles are in good working order on an ongoing basis, and that all employees are properly trained in their use and the other safety concerns they may carry with them.
These efforts should include the following steps, all of which reduce the risk of an accident:
1) Require certification for operators
First and foremost, anyone who is operating a forklift (or any other piece of heavy machinery, for that matter) under your roof needs to be fully trained and certified in their operation, according to Big Rentz. That way, you are significantly reducing risk as a result of user error, and ensuring that if something does go wrong, there is a better chance the issue will be handled safely and properly.
2) Enforce a dress code
There are certain things that should not be worn when operating a forklift, such as baggy clothing or soft footwear like sneakers; your forklift operators have to keep that in mind every day they come to work, Big Rentz said. Setting that standard clearly will reduce the risk of an injury or accident and, once it's established, it's easy for all involved to adhere to.
3) Create a daily inspection checklist
Every time you start the day in your factory, it's important that a trained and certified employee runs the forklift through a brief inspection, Big Rentz added. This should only be a basic once-over to make sure everything looks and works as it should — with a more comprehensive maintenance plan taking place on a regular basis, as well.
4) Train even those who don't drive it
Even the employees who don't actually drive the forklifts need to know how to properly act around them, according to MaintainX. Even one mistake someone else makes — such as leaving something in a regular driving path or being careless around the machine itself — can result in an injury through no fault of the driver.
5) Stick to the load limits
Every forklift has manufacturer-recommended standards for how much they can carry, what angle certain loads should be carried at, and so on, MaintainX noted. Your drivers need to be intimately familiar with these limits and carefully ensure everything they haul is under those levels.
6) Take it slow
Forklifts can be surprisingly fast, but drivers should never test those limits, according to KPA. That's not only because it's easier to keep a slow vehicle under control, but also because factories tend to be places with lots of activity and risks can develop with no warning.
7) Make sure everything is balanced
When loading a forklift, operators and others need to make sure the weight is properly distributed on the pallet, KPA advised. That way, even if the driver has to stop short, there's no risk of heavy items falling or the forklift itself tipping forward.