A Guide on the Use of Forklifts

The forklift is a valuable piece of equipment in manufacturing and warehouse operations, the main purpose is to lift and transport materials. The forklift has revolutionised how materials are moved within the work place, efficiently and effectively. The forklift get there name from the folk like prongs at the front, which is lowered and then lifts the required load. Forklifts vary in size, however the main purpose remains.

Forklifts feature in a large number of workplace accidents. Forklift accidents cause damage to buildings storage systems and stock. There are around 8000 accidents each year, 10 of which being fatal. The main causes of these accidents are:-

  • Lack of Operater Training
  • Inadequate Premises
  • Poor Maintenance.

It is the responsibility of the management to ensure that all safety procedures are implemented maintained and reviewed. The operator is responsible for the everyday maintenance of the forklift. Inspecting the equipment over visually, checking  the general condition and testing the operation, establishing the forklift functions properly before it is used is a safety measure to help reduce the risk of an accident. There are various safety checks that operators of forklift trucks can carry out, ensuring the machine is safe to use. All safety procedures need to be followed by the operators in order for the forklift to be maintained correctly. The driver of forklift needs to make sure that it does not exceed the forklift’s weight capacity. The operator of the forklift needs to have adequate training in order for the machine to function properly, reducing the amount of accidents. Overall as an employer it is your responsibility to ensure that all employees have relevant and sufficient training, making sure refresher courses and assessments are conducted around every 5 years, defined by HSE guidelines.

A thorough examination is a safety inspection of lifting equipment under “Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98 regulation 9). It is similar to an MOT, it’s purpose is to identify if the lifting equipment is safe to use. This regulation covers various equipment including, cranes, forklift truck's, lifts, hoists, mobile elevating work platforms, and vehicle inspection platform hoists. Also included are lifting accessories such as chains, slings, eyebolts, quick hitches, shackles etc. This will need to be carried out at least once a year, more depending on the use of the forklift. The inspection is to reduce the risks to a person’s health and safety from lifting equipment used in the workplace. Only a competent person can carry out a Through examination, this is defined as someone who has extensive experience and knowledge. An experienced truck service engineer is the best person to carry out these inspections. You can view more detailed information on LOLER and by visiting the HSE website.

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