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How to avoid accidents when operating a forklift?

It is very common that we constantly see forklift operators in warehouses doing their work without setbacks, and it is due to this daily life that we assume that they do not represent any risk; However, it is important to be disappointed and be aware that any maneuver carried out in a forklift is dangerous, so if we see one in motion and loaded, we should not approach it.

Although it may not seem like it, operating a forklift is a job that involves risks that can lead to major accidents, if the proper precautions are not taken. That is why here we share what are the risks of using forklifts, as well as some recommendations that operators must take into account to avoid accidents, through the correct use of the vehicle they are using to carry out their work.

forklift safety


The main risk inherent in any forklift is that they are designed for loading, unloading, positioning and assortment of products, so they have the ability to support a large weight, which can vary, but on average is one ton. Lifting a ton is already a huge risk factor in itself, and if we add to this the complicated maneuvers that need to be performed with the load lifted to accommodate it, the risk increases considerably.

Any wrong or wrong move by the forklift operator can result in a fatal accident.


Know 100% the vehicle

Training forklift operators is the top recommendation. Only by having knowledge of the characteristics of the type of vehicle they are using, operators will be able to have greater control of its operation and, therefore, will be able to act in a timely manner in the event of any mishap, to avoid an accident as far as possible.

There are two types of forklifts: those powered electrically through batteries and those that use engines that use liquefied gas, diesel or natural gas. Each one has different characteristics, both in its operation and in its capacity; However, the operation of both represent risks both for the operator and for the people who are present in his work area.

To achieve correct training in handling a forklift, it is important to rely on the manufacturer, since the design and shape of each vehicle varies depending on the brand.

Control speed

Respect the speed rules allowed.

Delimit work areas

Mark the aisles that are for general personnel or people who have to go through them, and those that will be used exclusively by forklift operators.

In addition, the personnel who travel through the corridors of the forklifts must wear special vests, which are visible to the operators and must not be near the workplace, when the operator is performing a loading or unloading maneuver, to avoid injuries if problems arise in handling the load.

Improve visibility

Place concave mirrors in corridors and corners, in order to have a better visibility of objects and people that surround the work area, as well as of what could come from the opposite direction or when turning corners. For additional safety equipment, visit verge safety barriers.

Forklift operators should stop at corners and use these mirrors before turning, in order to do so as safely as possible; likewise, at these intersections or blind spots, they should use their horn and keep their turret on.

Ensure the proper functioning of the vehicle

To ensure that the vehicle is working correctly, the forklift operators of each shift must have a checklist, which they will fill out at the beginning and at the end of their working day, to guarantee that they are taking it and leaving it in perfect condition for their operation. In the event that an anomaly is indicated, the forklift cannot be used until a supervisor reviews it.

Validate the purchase of the appropriate equipment

This recommendation is addressed to those in charge of the purchasing area, who must identify the required cargo needs; that is, be clear about the maximum weight required and validate it in the technical sheets of the possible equipment to buy, before purchasing them. This will prevent the use of equipment with a lower capacity than the load, which can cause an accident.

Secure personnel transported on the forklift

In some cases, forklifts are used to lift personnel, whose tasks consist of product review, counting or maintenance. To lift a person a basket is used, which must be secured to the forklift with chains and padlocks, without neglecting other safety products, such as the use of a harness and life rope, which will keep it protected in case of any incident with the basket.


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