Forklift accidents are not uncommon in material handling operations in the commercial and industrial sectors. Therefore, you should be cautious if you have just obtained your forklift license. If you are careless in handling your equipment, you could cause harm to yourself and other individuals on the work site, and you might damage the expensive cargo. Here are some novice tips to help you avoid accidents and subsequent losses when operating a forklift.
Plan Your Route
You should plan a clear route through which you will drive the forklift during your material handling operations. After identifying your path, you should check for potential problems which could cause problems when moving heavy loads. Check the ground and ensure that the road is free of obstacles. You should also make sure that there will be no overhead clearance issues when handling tall loads.
In addition, you should check the condition of material handling accessories on your path. For example, some loading and unloading work sites will have loading ramps and bridge plates. You should not operate your forklift if these elements are showing signs of degradation and disrepair. Moreover, you should be certain that they are installed correctly to support the weight of the load and the forklift. Remember to opt for straight routes with fewer turns, bumps and holes.
Respect the Capacity
One of the common causes of forklift accidents such as overturning is overloading of the equipment. Therefore, if you are invested in ensuring personal and worksite safety, you must not exceed the maximum rated load bearing capacity of your forklift. In simple terms, you should check the rating plate and make sure that your heavy loads do not exceed the restriction. You should never use a counterweight in an attempt to increase the equipment's load capacity. This practice can destabilise the forklift and increase the risk of an unfortunate incident.
Ensure Load Stability
You should make sure that your loads are stable before moving the forklift. Ideally, you should inspect the load and determine the best way to pick it while maintaining stability and balance. You should ensure that the load is symmetrically supported to avoid excess weight on one side. The load must never be supported at the tips of the fork. Instead, the cargo must as far back as possible and secured in place at a low height for optimal steadiness.
Finally, you must follow the standard forklift operation practices such as maintaining an acceptable speed, using seatbelts and only carrying authorised passengers.