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5 Forklift Dangers and How to Prevent Them

Forklifts are heavy vehicles used in manufacturing facilities, construction sites, and warehouses. Forklifts can be useful, but technological advances are beginning to show how inefficient and how dangerous using a forklift can be. Fork lifts (also known as fork trucks) can cause harm to the driver and surrounding operators if not handled properly. Below are the possible dangers that forklifts can cause and tips on how to avoid them:

1. Falling From Elevated Forks

Factory workers often use forklifts in unloading items to a stacking dock or an internal warehouse. If your employees cannot unload the items, they need to get the items from the actual forklifts. Your operators must then unload the items with extra care. If not, the weight of the loaded items may become unbalanced and your operators can fall from the elevated forks on the forklift.  

The problem occurs when somebody steps on the forklifts to unload the items. To prevent this, your employees should park the forklifts in a safe area, then the assemblers who unload the products should avoid stepping on the forklifts themselves. 

2. Bumping into Forklifts

Forklifts are fast-moving vehicles. Battery powered forklifts are noiseless because they have a different kind of engine and this makes it very difficult for operators to hear when a forklift is approaching. On top of this the driver’s inability to see properly makes operating a forklift hazardous for other people in the site. To prevent accidents, ensure your other employees are alert and keep their distance from forklifts.

Tell your managers (if not already done) to add floor marking tape that will keep the forklifts away from operators. Forklift drivers must use these markings as their guide when operating these vehicles. This strategy can help in ensuring a smooth, hassle-free, and safe operation within your facility.

3. Overturned Forklifts

It is the number one cause of death and injury associated with forklifts. Many forklift drivers are aware of this, but they often get surprised by how quickly it can take place.

Your workers can deal with this issue in two ways: prevention and how they should respond when faced with this problem.

Train your drivers and teach them the right way to load forklifts. This is the best tactic to prevent these vehicles from overturning. Likewise, make sure they know the largest weight capacities of the forklifts they operate. Encourage them to always follow the rules. This means implementing speed guidelines and ensure that all fork truck drivers follow these speeds. Inform them that they should avoid driving forklifts on rough terrain — this can be more dangerous especially for overloaded vehicles.

4. Not Wearing Safety Gear

Wearing seatbelts is important in operating industrial vehicles like forklifts. If drivers don’t use their seatbelts, the movements of forklifts may push them out of their seats. Wearing seatbelts will help them control these vehicles. Remind your drivers even when the forklifts are not running at high speeds or even if they’re just covering short distances.

5. Unlicensed Forklift Drivers

Forklifts are not difficult to operate. However, it doesn’t mean you can just hire men with experience in driving forklifts. This is not only dangerous. It is a huge violation of several regulations implemented by Occupational Helath & Safety. So ensure when hiring forklift drivers within your facility that these drivers are all licenced and have the proper training needed for your forklifts. 

Using a Tugger Train System

One of the easiest and safest way to reduce the number of fork truck accidents is by not using fork trucks for material transportation. Many facilities have begun the adaptation towards a tugger train system. This type of system makes it much more efficient and safer to move materials within your warehouse. Instead of using a forklift the materials are placed on heavy duty pallet carts, these pallet carts can then be loaded into frames which are connected in a train system or connected via a tow bar. This method of material transportation saves many return trips via forklift and therefore can greatly boost the productivity within the facility.

 

Aside from teaching them safety precautions when operating forklifts or working in the presence of forklifts, provide your employees with safety gears and tools. These things will ensure the safety of your workers and everything else in your facility.

Using tugger trains or alternative techniques can create a more efficient material process and is essential when adopting lean manufacturing. Here at FlexQube we have lots of experience of helping customers implement lean manufacturing methods into their facilities and moving away from forklift environments.  

If you are looking at transitioning away from forklifts and adopting a more lean manufacturing system, feel free to reach out to a FlexQube sales representative to learn more at [email protected]

You may also like:

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How to start the transition from forklifts to a tugger train system?

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