Forklifts can become an invaluable part of any logistics operation in short order, but that comes with a significant caveat. The only people who should be able to use this equipment are those who have extensive training and proper certification to do so, . Otherwise, you may put your workers and your inventory at risk.
With that in mind, establishing a number of in-house rules for how forklifts will be operated and otherwise dealt with is a must. The following tips should provide a strong jumping-off point:
1) Make sure everything is checked before use
No one under your roof should be using these vehicles without a careful inspection first, according to the Forklift Academy. Looking over every inch of the exterior should help drivers identify anything that could pose a problem during regular use that day, such as if the tires are running low on pressure. If anything is amiss, the problems can then be fixed before use.
2) Stress the importance of careful entry and exit
Even people who have driven forklifts hundreds of times may put themselves at greater risk for injury if they don't get into and out of the vehicle with care, the Forklift Academy added. Something as simple as checking their landing spot and taking it slow will reduce this risk significantly.
3) Remove the keys when not in use
As a general rule, you only want those who are qualified to operate a forklift, according to Atlantic Training. To reduce the risk of unauthorized use, you need to establish a policy of removing the key and storing it in a safe location that people with certification can access. Something as simple as a lockbox with a code known only to those with authorization will help you avoid a potential issue.
4) Always keep the lift capacity in mind
Even those who are qualified to operate forklifts sometimes get a little too far ahead of themselves and over-extend forklifts beyond how they're intended, Atlantic Training advised. The vehicles have maximum weights they can lift, as well as maximum heights beyond which they should not lift certain weights. Operators must be cognizant of those numbers as they use the lifts in everyday work. Exceeding those numbers even marginally could lead to dangerous situations.
5) Designate areas where a forklift can travel
Finally, it's not just forklift operators who have to be aware of the risks that come with ongoing operation within a warehouse, according to Reno Forklift. Workers on foot may also be at risk if they or drivers are not aware of one another as they traverse the shop floor. As long as you're making it clear where forklifts can and cannot be operated on the entire grounds, the risk of a collision is minimized. Just in case, though, you should also add flashing lights and noise signals so people know when these vehicles are in their vicinity.