Warehouse safety should be of the utmost concern to any logistics company. This is true not only because it's their legal duty to protect workers from harm as much as possible, but also because even minor accidents can significantly disrupt operations. The need for safety awareness only increases when warehouses use forklifts and other heavy machinery on the shop floor.
For that reason, it's vital for companies to make sure they're doing all they can to promote and uphold safety around forklifts every single day, and these five steps should help them.
1) Ensure operators are qualified
Under no circumstances should someone who is not certified to drive a forklift be allowed to operate it, according to Adapt a Lift Hyster. Someone may feel as though they've handled other vehicles similar to forklifts, but the intricacies of this heavy machinery make it uniquely challenging for the uninitiated.
Mandating certification should be a must, and even qualified drivers could stand to brush up their skills on a regular basis.
2) Always inspect before use
It should also be company policy that those who use a forklift check it over carefully to ensure it's in proper working order, fully charged and safe to operate. Even a small problem with a machine could pose an unexpected safety hazard if it's not identified before use.
3) Educate workers
Just because forklift drivers are certified and trained on how to operate the vehicles doesn't ensure safety, because other employees might still be too careless around the machines, according to Graphic Products. For that reason, it's vital for everyone who's going to come into proximity to a forklift to know what to watch for and what not to do around it.
4) Check the load
It's vital for anyone operating or working near a forklift to be cognizant of the risks around whatever load it happens to be carrying, Graphic Products noted. If it's not properly secured, or contains hazardous materials, it can pose a real hazard, so all involved have a role to play in ensuring every load gets to its intended destination safe and sound.
5) Drive slowly and carefully
As with safely operating any vehicle, when excessive speeds aren't part of the equation, things are far more likely to go smoothly, according to Yale Forklifts. Even experienced operators should always take it slow, especially when carrying a payload from one part of the warehouse to another. Likewise, in heavily trafficked areas of the shop floor, or when going around corners, operators need to be extra-cautious because just one person who's not paying attention can cause a hazardous situation.
With all this in mind, it's also important for executives or other warehouse decision makers to ensure their facilities are maintaining as many safety precautions as possible. Combining those efforts with regular re-training sessions can further promote workplace safety on an ongoing basis.