Forklifts are a common denominator across businesses from a host of different sectors. Any business that uses a warehouse, factory, or loading dock is impacted by them in some way, so understanding how they work and how to get the most out of them is essential. The best way to do this is to understand some of the most common forklift mistakes and what to do about them.
They say the best offense is a good defense, and the same is true in the fight against forklift wear and tear. In this case, a good defense means regularly inspecting a forklift for damage, such as:
- Bent or dented forklift forks
- Cracked tires
- Tire pressure that’s too low or high
- Faulty safety lights
- Worn-out brakes
- Damaged forklift chains
By looking for this kind of damage regularly, operators will be able to find and fix smaller problems before they become larger and more costly.
Neglecting Fluid, Fuel, and Battery Levels
Does this sound familiar? Your car battery is getting completely drained when all you did was run out of gas or accidentally leave the headlights on. If this can happen to the cars that we spend hundreds of hours a year in, how much more likely is it to happen in our forklifts?
The best way to avoid these common forklift mistakes is to add fluid and fuel checks to your regular inspections. But, since to err is human, be prepared in the event that a vehicle does run out of fluid, fuel, or battery while working. For instance, companies should train workers how to jumpstart a forklift safely. They should also keep emergency fuel storage in easy-to-reach places.
Every forklift has a load capacity. However, any experienced operator will tell you that emphasis often gets placed on what can be lifted safely instead of the heaviness of the load. Factors such as a load’s size, shape, and how well it’s secured also impact how well it can be lifted. Being able to gauge a load accurately comes with experience, but companies can help by including information about the forklift stability triangle in their training regimen.
Not Considering Surroundings
Rather than accidents getting caused by the forklift itself, many forklift accidents are caused by factors in the forklift’s immediate environment. This includes obstacles such as merchandise and other workers and hazards like narrow aisles or slick flooring. Companies can do the following to avoid accidents:
- Ensure a warehouse is kept clean and organized.
- Requiring workers to wear bright, reflective vests.
- Improving lighting and visibility.
- Adding signage into the area.
- Having dedicated pedestrian walk through areas and forklift drive zones.
In addition, training and communication are everything. If operators and pedestrians know how to communicate their presence, it will be much easier for them to keep out of the others’ way.