Tips For Maintaining Control of a Forklift

Operating a forklift requires concentration, precision, and skill — and even the most practiced forklift operators can use a little assistance sometimes, especially in tight spots or challenging environments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has offered a number of tips for maintaining control on a forklift as well as several other construction safety tips.  Following the suggested forklift safety tips can help operators stay safe, get the job done and avoid any risky or costly mistakes. Here are a few of the best suggestions:


» Face the rear 

Drivers should always be seated facing the rear of the forklift, which provides most of the support for the vehicle and is equipped with the equipment’s forks.


» Look in the direction of travel 

One of the most important tips for maintaining control on a forklift is to always ensure you are looking in the direction in which the forklift is headed. Looking over your shoulder or to the side when you’re traveling forward, for instance, may cause you to miss something in your path, which can lead to an accident.


» Go slowly 

Driving a forklift isn’t anything like driving a regular vehicle, so you shouldn’t be flooring it to get the job done quicker. Driving too quickly can cause a tip over or a collision. Ensure you’re moving at a slow and steady pace for optimal safety.


» Sound horn before moving 

No matter what environment you’re working in, you’ll want to take note of your surroundings. Give your horn a quick honk each time before you start moving to make sure other workers in your area are paying attention to your movement.


» Stop when vision is blocked

If you encounter any limitations in your vision — from other equipment or something else in a warehouse, for example — immediately stop moving. While it may be tempting to keep going since you may know the environment well, that could pose serious risks to the driver, other workers, and the equipment.


» Use caution when in reverse 

Reversing can pose challenges to maintaining control on a forklift so it should be avoided if possible; however, there may be times when a driver has to back up and should use extreme caution. Look in the direction of travel — in this case, behind you — and also use aids like rearview mirrors and ground guides. Remember that pedestrians may not be able to hear a back-up alarm, depending on the noise level, so be on the lookout for any movement and stop immediately if a pedestrian enters your path.


About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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