A forklift is a vehicle fitted with a forked platform on the anterior whereby it can be elevated or lowered to lift and move cargo. They are powered by combustion engines or electric battery. It has five main components which are; the mast, truck frame, power source, carriage and the counterweight.
Forklifts have varied uses depending on where they are used for example they can be used as snow plows to shovel snow off parking lots and on walkways by entrepreneurs due to its economic advantages. Other places where the forklift is used include; dockyards for the transportation of containers from delivery trucks to storage areas at the dockside, warehouses, recycling operations and at construction sites.
Important safety rules in the use of forklift
Adhere to the capacity
Maintenance of the prescribed capacity is of utmost importance in preventing injury to personnel. Exceeding the capacity will put unnecessary pressure on the rear wheels causing them to lift off the ground and fall over.
It is necessary to put on the necessary safety equipment including hard-huts, reflector jacket and safety shoes. Any loose hanging cloth should be tucked in to prevent hazards arising from being caught on the forklift.
To identify any defects daily inspection of the equipment is fundamental. Checks that should be conducted include;
- Checking for any leaks (oil, radiator or water)
- Testing the brakes, steering wheel, lights and horn
- Looking for any cracks or distortions
- Checking on the tires and levels of fluids; fuel, hydraulic, engine, coolant, and brakes
Ensuring the stability of loads
Check for balance when loading them on the loading dock. If necessary secure bulky loads with ropes and ensure that any skids used are of the recommended weight to reduce hazards. Keeping the folk low goes a long way in establishing the stability of the forklift.
Maintain the right speed
High speeds especially when taking sharp turns can tip over the forklift causing injury to personnel and damage to goods. The appropriate speed ensures safe movement and appropriate action in case the forklift dips.
Maintenance of the right number of people on the forklift.
Carrying extra people can be the greatest hazard unless there is an extra seat fitted to allow an extra person. This avoids injury to unauthorized occupants in a forklift.
Maintenance of a safe working distance.
It is necessary to avoid proximity with other machines while operating a forklift. It allows for an opportunity to avoid unnecessary damages and injuries that can be caused by unprecedented movements of other machines.
Correct parking a forklift after use
The forks should be lowered fully to fit on the floor while applying the parking brake, turning off the engine and removing the ignition. The forklift should be parked away from pathways to ensure that there is no obstruction or blockage.
Training is the most important aspect in avoiding forklift accidents. There is also the need for continuous inspection and maintenance of the machines to avoid the risk of mechanical design The Forklift Academy.