Are your forklift operators driving safely?
We're always tempted to say, "Of course!" to a question like this. But the truth is, unsafe driving can happen anytime. Someone speeds up a little too much, takes a corner a little too fast, they tip a load...and you have an accident.
In our industry though, accidents come with warning signs. A damaged forklift will cause trouble before it breaks down. Similarly, we can spot unsafe driving before it causes accidents.
We've collected several warnings signs from our own experiences, and those of our customers, to help you prevent accidents before they start.
The 10 Warning Signs of Unsafe Forklift Operation
Here are ten warning signs to watch out for. If you see one or more of these, chances are someone is driving their forklift improperly.
1. Loud Noises During Operation
Forklifts aren't silent when running. But like any vehicle, they make more noise when overworked. (Noisy forklifts may need maintenance too, which can also prevent accidents.)
Make sure employees know that they should make management aware of improper driving. Everyone's in a rush…but nobody should rush a forklift.
Did you hear someone shout, "Hey, slow down!"? Then someone needs to slow down!
4. Frequent Opportunity Charging (for Electric Forklifts)
You're aware of the charging interval necessary for electric forklifts. If operators are "opportunity charging" (charging during the shift) more frequently, chances are they're pushing the battery too hard.
5. Increase in Fuel Consumption (for LPG forklifts)
Fuel costs for LPG forklifts should remain stable week after week. If you have an increase, especially a sudden one, somebody is pushing that forklift too hard.
6. Extra Riders
Is someone hanging onto the side of a forklift while it's in motion? Or worse, standing on the forks? Get them off there right away!
7. Crowded Lanes
Forklifts need space not just to run, but to turn. Extra boxes, pallets, even trash on the warehouse floor? Remove it at once.
8. Forklifts Jerking/Moving Erratically
If a forklift jerks while operating, it either needs maintenance or its driver needs more training.
9. Warning Lights Off
If your forklifts have warning lights (such as a blue light), but operators drive without them on? They're endangering co-workers.
10. Missed Training
If your records show an operator skipping a training session, they may think they don't need it. That kind of attitude causes accidents. Bad ones.
Accidents: The Result You Don't Want
All of these warning signs can lead to a workplace accident. Just one unsafe driver can collapse entire racks, seriously injure multiple people, or both. It can happen in seconds.
Creative Safety Supply created this infographic showing the 10 most common forklift accidents. You can order it as a poster for a good safety reminder: 10 Common Forklift Accidents – Creative Safety Supply
That's the wrong load…
Unsafe Forklift Operation Can Happen at Any Moment. Stay Vigilant.
One in every six workplace deaths involves a forklift. Let's all do what we can to bring that number down.
When you hear or see these warning signs, take action. Identify the operator and caution them about safe forklift driving. Send them to safety training if you feel they need it (and make sure they go!).
Until next month!
Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
Cromer Material Handling