Workers and the equipment they use to get the job done are the lifeblood of your warehouse, but you need to make sure they can operate safely in that space every single day. Just one accident can derail your normal operations for hours or even days, and especially where forklifts are involved, it might not be easy to shift your perspective to one that continually centers safety — but it's certainly a good idea.
The following tips should help you do just that and uphold a safer, more efficient working environment as a result:
1) Create "lanes" for all workers
One of the easiest ways for forklift accidents to occur is if there's a lot of cross-traffic and people getting in the way of these machines, or vice versa, according to Raymond Handling. As such, it can be helpful to clearly mark off some lanes where forklifts should drive; pedestrians will know to stay out of that lane, and forklift operators will stick only to where they are supposed to move.
2) Observe basic traffic rules
Along similar lines, if you're creating a road system in your warehouse, it's a good idea to make sure your drivers are doing the basics of operating a motor vehicle, Raymond Handling added. That includes wearing a seatbelt, yielding to pedestrians, never driving distracted and coming to a full stop at any intersections.
3) Keep your warehouse clean
Just like you wouldn't want to have to drive around debris in the road, darting dangerously into another lane, your forklift operators shouldn't have to worry about a mess in their way, according to Toyota Forklift. It's time to renew your organizational commitment to cleaning up spills and other trash that may hinder ideal performance.
4) Train for everyone's safety
It's important that everyone under your roof knows what's expected of them, and that includes how they work and act around heavy machinery, Toyota Forklift said. With the right instruction, the risk of someone making an avoidable mistake is decreased.
5) Only allow trained people on or around forklifts
Likewise, it's important to make clear that people should only be getting behind the wheel of a forklift if they are trained and certified to do so, according to Cab Incorporated. That way, there's way less risk that you will have someone make a rash decision and cause an accident.
6) Make sure proper maintenance is cooked into your operations
Of course, to operate any vehicle safely, you need to make sure that it gets the care it needs over time, Cab Incorporated noted. That can be as simple as changing the oil when needed and putting air in the tires, but these measures are critical to ongoing efficient use.
7) Know what the lift can handle
Finally, you don't want to overtax your forklifts by unnecessarily loading them with weights they weren't designed to handle, Cab Incorporated further advised. Put another way, just because a lift can move a pallet stacked 10 feet high with heavy materials doesn't mean it should. Instead, stick to manufacturer recommendations and limits.