Many factors make forklifts dangerous: horseplaying, unsecured loads, poor maintenance, etc. As a result, proper safety training is critical. Forklifts are heavy machinery that requires appropriate education to reduce the risk of serious accidents and loss. For this reason, forklift initial training is an essential component of being able to safely operate these machines.
According to CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety), some of the most common factors of forklift accidents are:
- Excessive speed
- Improper driving
- Improper warnings to others
- Poor communication
- Riding with the load elevated
- Inadequate servicing of the forklift
Without forklift safety training, operators can fall from a forklift platform or be crushed by a forklift tipping over. It can also cause accidents to people nearby, some of the most common being struck or run over by a forklift, crushed between the forklift and another surface, or struck by falling material.
It goes without saying, but all of the above highlights the importance of forklift safety. Here are five reasons organizations need to mandate forklift safety and refresher training.
1. Reduces fatalities
When operating a forklift, there is always the risk of an accident. Much like driving a vehicle without prior instruction or practice, operating a forklift without training poses an immediate danger to the operator and others. However, most forklift accidents can be prevented with proper safety training.
This is because, with the right education, the operator will be familiar with all the best practices for forklift safety. Such safety methods include:
- Honking when driving around a corner
- Ensuring loads are elevated and upslope
- Don’t raise or lower forks when the machine is moving
- No using the forklift to elevate other workers, etc
2. Identifies malfunctions
Forklift safety training includes a full demonstration of all controls. It’s a chance for drivers to ask questions and gain clarification about the machine’s operations. With the right knowledge, drivers can identify a problem and address the issue before it becomes a serious accident.
Moreover, this kind of training will result in a proactive approach to forklift management. The operator(s) will have a general knowledge of what to look for on a “ready-to-use” forklift as well as how to spot a forklift that may be unsafe.
3. Knowledge of best practices
Companies experience significantly lower accident rates when the driver is educated and aware of best practices. The training covers essential information, such as:
- How to manage elevated loads to avoid tipping over
- Keeping the load as low to the ground as possible
- What to do if the forklift does tip over
- Proper backing up techniques
- Maintaining optimal visibility at all times
Forklift safety training also touches on regular servicing of the equipment, the forklift’s load capacity, safety features, and more.
This kind of education will improve worker safety, and as a result, save you time and money. Think of the loss of productivity that happens due to accidents resulting from untrained workers who weren’t educated on forklift safety best practices.
And this leads us to the next reason for forklift safety, which is…
4. Reduces costly downtime
When a forklift causes an injury, tips over, or material falls due to overloading, this causes costly downtime, reduced productivity, and lost goods. Requiring all operators to complete forklift safety training and refresher courses is an investment in the health and safety of the company.
A fleet of workers who are familiar with the rules, regulations, and best practices for forklift safety will be more effective and efficient on the job. Failure to do this can result in costly incidents that can easily be prevented with an educated workforce.
5. Instills confidence in workers
With safety training, drivers can feel more confident in operating a forklift. This is due to the fact that they know all their colleagues have undergone the same extensive training program, which entails they are also educated and on par with the safety standards and procedures.
Additionally, companies who put their employees through forklift training also boost morale within their workplace, as it shows care and concern for all workers’ safety.
And when workers feel taken care of, they will work harder to return the goodwill that they have received from you.
There are countless reasons that validate the importance of forklift safety. And by understanding what these reasons are and how they affect you, your business, and most importantly, your employees, you’ll be more inclined to make the necessary changes.
If you’d like to learn more about our safety courses or have any questions, contact us today for more information.
What is the importance of a forklift?
A forklift is an important piece of equipment. Whether you’re in a warehouse, factory, or industrial facility; the utility of a forklift is paramount. It helps move heavy pallets, stores materials in the correct places, and allows for the removal of hefty pallets and materials from shelves that can’t be done by hand.
What is forklift safety?
Forklift safety is the training and education process of learning how to properly use a forklift. These machines can be dangerous if operated by untrained persons. As such, forklift safety training properly educates operators on how to effectively use a forklift.
What is the most important part of a forklift?
The operator is the most critical and important part of any forklift. A well-trained and experienced forklift operator can safely use a forklift to do the jobs that are required of it. A person who is inexperienced and untrained poses a danger to him or herself in addition to others in the facility.