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5 Risks At Workplace While Using A Forklift

Posted by joneswillis on February 26th, 2020

Forklifts are an incredible tool. Some models look no bigger than a hatchback car, but they are incredibly useful with the displacement of heavy goods at industrial warehouses. They look so humble and easy that anybody can mistake them for being an easy machine to drive. On the contrary, they aren't. Operating a forklift requires exceptional skills and expertise, which one can only acquire through extensive training and practice.

This brings us to the necessity of safe forklift operations at the workplace. A forklift may be modest to look at, but it packs in a lot of power for the uninformed. If not operated with caution, it can result in severe, life-threatening accidents. That’s why the management always orders for extreme caution while using the forklift. Despite this, a forklift comes with its share of risks. So, let us discuss some of the major ones we usually come across while using a forklift in an industrial work environment.

  1. Manoeuvring

According to forklift hire services, though forklifts look the same, they are very different from cars. It makes sense then that they also operate and manoeuvre differently in comparison to a car. Forklifts need a wide clearance radius while turning. The rear steering drive typically provides a compact turning radius to the front face of the machine, but the rear end swings rapidly with a wide radius. Hence, a spotter or a pedestrian who is helping the forklift operator manoeuvre the vehicle must keep a considerable clearance around the forklift. This way, they can ensure safe and efficient manoeuvrability. Also, such a manoeuvring process will reduce the risk of collision and accidents, resulting in lower electric forklift repairs in Sydney.

  1. Blind spots

The forklift, when loaded with goods, creates many blind spots, making it difficult for the driver to see the front. The machine is steered in reverse, allowing the driver to view the area that he is driving into. Hence, the operator should be comfortable with reverse driving and operating the controls while doing so. Usually, extensive training for certification teaches all the basics of forklift operations, including used forklift repairs. Nonetheless, real-life situations can be different from the ones in training sessions, and the driver has to get accustomed to reverse driving and familiar with the layout of the workplace to operate efficiently.

  1. Load stability

The stability of the load is the most significant factor while operating the forklift. The forklift has to raise its fork and the freight beyond its height during the loading and unloading process. Hence, the operator should be aware of the topography of the place where the forklift is operating. Rough terrain, oily and wet surfaces and inclines make the forklift quite unstable. Also, the machine can lose balance when turning at high speeds with a heavy load.

The height and weight of the load also increase instability in the vehicle. The operator should always know the maximum carrying capacity of the truck and the load they have been tasked to carry. If the weight of the load is higher than the maximum limit, it causes instability in the vehicle resulting in accidents and the need for significant electric forklift repairs.

  1. Fueling

Even though most forklifts run on batteries, the operations of recharging, refuelling and forklift service and maintenanceare unusually hazardous. Gas-powered forklifts run the risk of catching fire during refuelling. Even using diesel or propane as fuel is hazardous. Moreover, the battery recharging process generates hydrogen gas, which is flammable. So, keep away from the machine while it is being refuelled or recharged. Never light fire or smoke near the forklift during these times.

  1. Speed

According to forklift hire services, the speeds and the weight of the forklift give it momentum, which enables it to move heavy loads across the warehouse. As forklifts handle heavier loads, they are built heavier than a car. The force of the forklift is so immense that even at a slower speed, the forklift can cause considerable damage equivalent to that caused by a car running at around 20 miles/hour.

Therefore, forklift operators should follow speed limits. Also, pedestrian employees should use the designated walkways and must not venture into the path of the forklift. They should exercise caution and be aware of the forklift’s movement.

These are the most common risks observed in the industrial workplace while operating a forklift. If you manage the risks efficiently, do forklift service regularly, and train your employees about the safety protocols, the work environment will be safe and secure for your employees.


Also See: Forklift Repairs, Blind Spots, Work Environment, Reverse Driving, Forklift, Load, Forklifts

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