Fork Lifts

Fork Lifts

Fork lifts, also known as lift trucks or hi-los are a ubiquitous sight in just about any industrial, warehouse, or construction setting. And while they are highly customizable for many industries and tasks, their basic utility is universal. They are designed to lift, pull, push, stack, and transport raw materials, packaged products, tools, other machinery, and hundreds of other items. In this capacity they perform admirably when operated properly. However, forklifts can be complex machines to operate and there are many hazards associated with the use of any forklift, even one that is well maintained and operated by a trained and conscientious operator. Some of the hazards associated with operating a forklift are:

  • Motion Hazards. It is often difficult to see in all directions around you while operating a forklift, especially if you have a full load on the forks. This may lead the operator to strike an object or a person that was not fully in view.
  • Dropping Hazards. If a load is not properly secured to the forks, it is very possible to drop it as it is being transported, especially when travelling over unstable or uneven terrain.
  • Tilting Hazards. If a load is very heavy and not properly secured to the forks it is possible for a forklift to tilt while lifting or transporting the load.
  • Pedestrian Hazards. There are various hazards posed to pedestrians by forklifts. For example; There are procedures for safely storing a forklift, including that the forks should always be lowered and tilted forward so that the ends are touching the ground. This lessens the chances of a pedestrian tripping on them.
  • Condition Hazards. Extreme heat or cold, inclement weather, poor lighting, high noise levels (all conditions very familiar to anyone who has worked in a factory or construction setting) intensify the operational hazards listed above.

All of the hazards above can be amplified by improper use, which can be the result of:

  • Improper Task Assignment. A forklift operator may be asked to perform a task that, due to his experience he might be capable of completing, but that might not be within the forklift’s capabilities.
  • Improper Training.
  • Improper Maintenance.

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