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Most Common Forklift Truck Operation Mistakes

If you use forklift trucks as part of your daily business, then you’ll probably have a dedicated team of forklift truck drivers who manage and operate the vehicles on your behalf. Hopefully, you will have ensured they are all well trained and qualified to drive them.

There are Common Forklift Operator Mistakes to Look Out For

Your forklift drivers will carry materials each day to their rightful place, wherever that may be and through the course of the day, there’s room for errors and potential accidents. Hopefully, they will overcome most of them. However, there are common forklift truck operation mistakes to look out for, which if you are aware of, can be avoided.

Communication is Key

Communication is key to making sure everyone knows what they’re doing and that they are approaching. The best way for drivers and other personnel to communicate with each other is to use signals and lights as your voice may not carry, even if you shout, above the noise of machinery.

Use verbal communication, but always back it up with clear hand signals. Make sure that the backup alarm is working on the vehicle as well. This will give a clear warning that the forklift operator is reversing and backing up. If there are blind spots, which there invariably will be, then it’s important the operator has a way of clearly warning anyone behind him.

Don’t Work Alone

If your forklift drivers are operating their daily load, as usual, make sure they’re aware that it’s okay to ask for help if they’re struggling with a particularly difficult load. Going to advice from a more experienced forklift operator, or simply asking someone for help when trying to unload a particularly heavy palate is the safest option. Safety is paramount, so asking is better than carrying on and hoping for the best.

There are other common operating errors too which are worth a mention: –

  • Battery – always check the battery because it’s easy to forget, but if you fail to do so, then the potential for injuries and damage to items is inevitable. Check battery levels and avoid accidents
  • Hydraulic fluid – This is something else that requires regular checking. It will need replacing, so regularly check the levels as soon as you can
  • Machine capacity – Weight capacity should always be checked before carrying a load, does it have the capacity to carry something, is it heavier than what the forklift is able to deal with. Accidents can be avoided by checking weight capacity
  • Manoeuvring through narrow lanes – avoid injury and potential damage to equipment by checking the width of a lane or passageway when operating a forklift. Be aware of your surroundings
  • Oddly shaped loads – Unfortunately, not everything an operator carries on his forklift truck will be perfectly shaped. If you have loads which might easily roll off, are top-heavy or a come in a shape which is difficult to maneuver, take extra precaution and go slower if it helps
  • Safety clothing – Always check that the operator is wearing the correct gear, boots especially can cause injury if they have slippery soles. A bad slip could lead to a serious head injury – that’s before they’ve even turned on the ignition key
  • Vertically elevated forks – If you drive while the forks are upward then you could make your vehicle unstable if your operator is unsure as to how to operate the forklift truck then refer to the manual and consult with a more experienced staff member for instructions on how to drive in the right position without a load.

Dechmont Forklift Trucks – Advice and Guidance From Professionals

If you have any further questions regarding the safe operation of forklift trucks, then get in touch with us here at Dechmont Forklift Trucks, we’re here to help, so just give us a call.