Facility Dude

8 common forklift mistakes to avoid

By Kate Donnelly
Oct 07, 2015

Safety and Risk Management

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8 common forklift mistakes to avoid When operated by a skilled professional, forklifts are safe, useful machines for moving inventory and equipment. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, anyone operating a forklift should have successfully passed the proper training and evaluation procedures. Still, even trained professionals can make the occasional mistake.

Here are eight common forklift mistakes to avoid:

1. Forgetting the machine's capacity

North Carolina University said that one of the most common forklift operator mistakes is forgetting to check the machine's weight capacity. Operators that work with several different machines are especially prone to this mistake. Always be aware of which vehicle you are operating and remind yourself of its capacity before lifting a large load.

2. Attempting to maneuver through narrow passages

It's easy to mistake the width of a passageway when driving a forklift. Avoid injury and costly repair by always being aware of your surroundings.

3. Carrying oddly shaped loads

Not everything you carry will be perfectly symmetrical. You should take special precautions when transporting loads that are top-heavy, prone to rolling or shaped in ways that affect the maneuverability of the forklift.

4. Slipping while entering the vehicle

Some injuries can occur before the machine is even turned on. OSHA recommended that you always check the soles of your boots for grease before operating a forklift. A slip could lead to a head injury.

5. Traveling with the forks elevated vertically

Driving with the forks upward can cause instability while turning and driving around obstacles. Always refer to the manual for the correct position in which to drive a forklift without a load.

6. Failure to get an inspection

Prevention is all important when it comes to forklift safety. According to Toyota, a manufacturer of forklifts, minor repairs on machines still under warranty can be conducted on site.

7. Not checking the battery

It's easy to forget to check the battery, but failing to do so can lead to injuries and damage to inventory. It only takes a second to look at battery levels, and it could save lives.

8. Not checking the hydraulic fluid

Like checking the battery, this is a precaution that you might not remember each time you operate the vehicle. Especially if your forklift is new, you might not even think about replacing the hydraulic fluid. If you haven't done it in a while, check your fluid levels today.

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