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What Are the Basics of Forklift Safety?

Article Details
  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 20 March 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are a number of regulations to ensure that people operating and working around forklifts use good forklift safety practices. Before operating a forklift, the most important thing for people to do is to familiarize themselves with the basics of forklift safety. Manuals and safety classes are available that go into detail about the safety requirements for working with these vehicles, and there may be additional safety requirements that each workplace requires. The basics of forklift safety include the proper balancing, lifting, and moving of a load as well as the correct use of driver restraints.

Properly balancing the load on a forklift is essential to the safe use of the machine. Each forklift should clearly display its maximum load, which is the heaviest object that it can lift. A heavier object can cause the forklift to topple over, which is highly dangerous for the operator. In addition, balancing the load in the center of the forklift’s arms keeps the forklift from tipping to one side or another.

Driving the forklift properly is important for forklift safety. When the forklift is loaded, it should be driven only at walking speed. This helps prevent the machine from falling over or dropping the load. Turns should be approached slowly and in a wide arc in order to keep the load on the forklift stable.

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Properly raising and lowering the load on the forklift is also a key component of safely operating the forklift. The load should not be moved up or down while the forklift is in motion. The operator should make sure that people do not walk around a load that has been lifted off the ground, just in case the load or the forklift tips over.

The driver should be the only person on the forklift, as there is a great risk of injury to any passengers. Moreover, the forklift driver should wear a restraining belt when operating the forklift, as the use of this safety device can protect him or her from injury or death. If the forklift falls over, the seatbelt can keep the operator from falling out and being seriously or fatally injured.

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