9 ways to improve forklift safety

The safety of MHE operators is imperative when dealing with material handling equipment such as Toyota forklifts and the like. It is critical to ensure you and your team know how to identify high-risk situations and how to safely execute tasks.

At Toyota Industrial Equipment, encouraging forklift safety amongst our clients is one of our main priorities. Following these basic forklift safety tips will contribute towards mitigating risk in your workplace and creating a culture amongst forklift operators that promotes forklift safety.

  1. Forklift Operator Training

Trained forklift operators improve safety and increase efficiency in the workplace. In fact, too often forklift training is neglected and the result leads to injuries, damaged products, and equipment downtime. There are clear benefits to making sure operators are trained:

  • Keep your operators safe: Driving a forklift might seem like a no-brainer, but it isn’t. Spending a little bit of time training the operator can prevent many injuries as well as increase efficiency.
  • Keep your pedestrians safe: Walking through a work area can be extremely dangerous if the forklift operators haven’t been trained.
  • Decrease your liability: Yes, you will still be liable for an accident even if you’ve trained your operator, but you’ll have much more liability on your hands if you never trained your operators to start with.
  • Increase forklift longevity: The cost of damaging your forklift is a much more expensive pill to swallow than upfront training.
  • Increase productivity: If your operator isn’t trained, he will end up spending time trying to figure things out he would’ve known if he had been. Making sure the operator is knowledgeable upfront will increase productivity.

Click hereto visit our Training Academy for more information on forklift training programmes.

  1. Forklift daily inspections

Forklifts that you buy, rent or hire must be inspected thoroughly before every use. If your team identifies any concerns, they must report these immediately to their shift supervisor. Never operate any forklifts in need of maintenance and repairs.

Regular daily inspections of the controls, brakes, steering, tyres, warning devices, and mast help avoid failed forklift accidents. Read more about our forklift inspection checklist here.

  1. Wear safety gear

All MHE operators are obligated to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (“PPE”). This usually includes a hard hat, safety shoes and a high-visibility jacket. PPE must fit well and needs to be task-specific, as any distraction can quickly become a safety hazard.

  1. Be aware of the forklift load capacity and distribution

Never exceed a forklift loading capacity, as this can quickly lead to an accident. When buying a forklift or renting one, observe the maximum load for the forklift and any attachments. Read more about why this is especially important before buying or renting a forklifthere.

  1. Be safe when you refuel

There must be a designated area for refuelling on your premises. A designated fuel area helps avoid fuel spillages happening in several places. Ensure the forklift engine is off before refuelling and ensure the designated area is well ventilated and away from any possible open flames.

  1. Maintain high visibility at all times

Good visibility is key to avoiding accidents. If an operator cannot see their load, the route ahead, or the unloading destination, they must immediately stop operating the forklift. Using guesswork while operating a forklift will inevitably result in an accident.

  1. Know the forklift class

At Toyota Forklift, we have many different forklift types and classifications. Every forklift model has its own specifications such as weight limit, turning radius, travelling speed and mast height. You have to know your equipment to follow safety practices adequately. If you are unsure about this, reach out to our team who will assist you to identify the right forklift type based on your operational needs.

  1. Make sure loads are secure

Check the loads are stable prior to attempting to lift or move a load or stack. Increase the equipment’s stability by travelling with the load tilted backwards and keeping the forks as low as possible. You can also use ropes to secure stacks and heavy loads.

  1. Move at an appropriate speed

Adhere to designated speed limits. Do not change direction suddenly or make sudden sharp turns, as these actions could cause the forklift to tip over.

At Toyota Forklifts and via our partner, CFAO Equipment SA, we have an array of forklifts available for sale or rent. Our value-added services under our Toyota Industrial Equipment division assist with safety which includes forklift load testing, engineering workshops, product training, repair workshops and more! Read more about our full service offering here.