With over 1 million forklift operators in the USA alone, forklift operator training and safety becomes crucial in accident prevention. There is so much that goes into forklift operator safety.
Below are 5 things every Forklift operator should know and adhere to.
Distraction is extremely dangerous - When you’re distracted you’re not paying full attention to your task. When that task is operating heavy machinery, distraction can be fatal. It takes less than a second for an accident to happen. If you are operating a forklift it is imperative that you avoid distractions. That means no looking at paperwork, daydreaming about what you are going to do after work, using your cell phone, or being focused on what your co-workers are looking at behind you. Keep your focus.
Complacency is just as risky - Complacency is just as dangerous as distraction. Complacency is defined as “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” Don’t think just because you’ve driven a forklift hundreds of times that you’re immune to accidents. Even if you’re driving the machinery correctly, you simply can not control everything that happens around you. Another forklift may cut you off, a load of materials may fall in your path, your brakes may fail… you need to be alert and ready to react if something out of your control occurs. Always be aware of your surroundings and the machinery you are operating.
Both operators and non-operator workers need safety training - Employers need to train both forklift operators and individuals who will work in the same area as those forklifts. Both operators and their co-workers need to know safety procedures to avoid causing or being involved in an accident. One major cause of work-related accidents when loads fall onto another worker. If the both workers were trained to clear the area…no one would be crushed by falling loads.
Refresher training is just as important as initial training - Forklift operators need to be provided not only with initial training, but continual refresher training at their place of work and /or the training centre. Refresher training will help keep safety at the forefront of operator’s minds, update workers in new safety guidelines and vehicle operating procedures. This may also help keep workers from becoming complacent.
Operators need training for forklifts of differing brands and models - One important training issue that tends to be overlooked is forklift training on new lift trucks. Whenever a new Lift truck is purchased, the employers must provide training on its use. Various brands and models of machinery function differently. Just because a worker knows how to operate one lift truck type or model does not mean they will know how to operate other various types. Components such as pedals, switches and steering can vary from one type of forklift to the next.