Forklifts, standard equipment in many industrial shops and construction sites, need to be operated properly in order to keep the workplace safe for everyone. In spite of careful regulations, roughly 100 people die every year in forklift accidents. Check DexKnows listings for the contact information of your local public office that deals with industrial safety regulations so that you are familiar with the safety laws.
Stacking containers properly on a forklift must be done to prevent injury from falling materials. The standard stack is a block, which is items stacked evenly on top of one another in a block shape, and can be done with square or rectangular items. However, these items can tip, slide and fall if you do not wrap the outside of the block with strapping or industrial strength tape. A more stable configuration is forming a stack with a brick pattern by making each layer face the opposite direction of the ones above and below it. If the materials you are packing are oddly shaped, you can stabilize them by putting pieces of plywood or cardboard between each layer and wrapping the stack with strapping.
Pallets and skids are designed to keep your stack stable on a forklift. However, that means loading and lifting the pallet onto the forklift properly. To ensure that the load does not tip, keep the forks of the lift as wide as possible under the pallet and make sure they go under it completely. Tilt the mast back slightly when you lift and make sure you are depositing the pallet on a stable surface and not on a load or stack that is lighter than the one you are carrying. Use scales to determine the weight of your load.
It is recommended that you do not use gas-powered forklifts indoors, and remember that even propane ones produce carbon monoxide. Never use a forklift in a closed area without ventilation. Have the ventilation checked by a professional if you are not sure whether it is sufficient. Also, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in the workplace. Carbon monoxide can cause issues, such as a heart attack, without you even knowing you are breathing excessive amounts of the gas.
It is often the case that hazardous materials are in the vicinity of a working forklift. Operators must be aware of these materials and the potential danger. Any containers with combustible materials should be out of the path of the machine. When moving hazardous materials, stack them according to the instructions on the packaging and plot a course from the loading dock with the fewest obstacles and turns.
You can help prevent workplace accidents and injuries by making sure that you and, if you’re a manager, anyone under your supervision, are fully up to date on how to use a forklift. Regularly evaluate yourself or your employees for safety knowledge and execution. Search the DexKnows material handling listings for certified forklift operators.
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