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8 ways to be a better forklift driver


8 ways to be a better forklift driver

When you're operating a forklift, the thing that should always be top of mind is the safety of yourself and those around you. Of course, in the hustle and bustle of a busy warehouse environment, this is often far more easily said than done, so it's important to reinforce the good habits you picked up while you were getting your forklift certification.

The following tips should help you do just that, and continue to be the best forklift driver you can be:

1) Check the vehicle before every use

Especially in a warehouse setting where more than one person may be using the lift, you can't leave anything to chance, according to the Forklift Academy. Before you hop aboard, check everything over to make sure it's in good shape, the fluids are topped off, the battery is charged and so on.

2) Gear up

In your warehouse, you likely have a number of things you're supposed to wear to keep yourself safe, so it's important to follow through, the Forklift Academy recommended. This could be steel-toed work shoes; head, eye or hand protection; reflective vests and more. Make sure you're wearing the appropriate gear in all situations.

3) Don't be cavalier about getting on or off

Many forklift-related injuries don't happen while the vehicle is in motion, but because people step awkwardly onto or off the vehicle, the Forklift Academy further noted. Be careful that you aren't taking a big leap, and that you're making three points of contact as you climb aboard.

4) Make sure you're visible and audible

Your forklift no doubt has lights and even audible signals so coworkers know it's coming; it's your job to make sure they're all working properly, according to Superior Industrial Products. Test them out to see if they're operable before you begin.

5) Know the load

Perhaps the biggest risk in driving a forklift is that you can't always account for issues like your own visibility, how the contents of a pallet shift and so on, Superior Industrial Products cautioned. Familiarize yourself with what you're being asked to carry from Point A to Point B and adjust your driving style accordingly.

6) Get help

Whenever you're not sure you can operate things safely on your own, be sure to enlist the help of a coworker, Superior Industrial Products added. Someone who can help direct traffic or more effectively secure the load you're carrying will be vital to avoiding an accident.

7) Be aware of height and width concerns

As you navigate through (or around) your facility, you will encounter doorways, corners and hallways of all sizes, and you have to take them into account when considering your route, according to Reno Forklift. Is the clearance high enough to accommodate this pallet? Is that aisle wide enough? You may even have to get out and measure to avoid making a mistake.

8) Follow "roads" in your facility

A great way to help ensure there are no accidents with cross-traffic is to clearly designate where pedestrians (even those with their pallet jacks and dolleys) should go, and where forklifts should operate, Reno Forklift cautioned. Most facilities have this kind of layout in some parts of the building, but doing this everywhere you operate a forklift will help ensure a strong safety record.