Forklifts or Fork Trucks: What are they?
Forklifts or lift trucks are used by numerous industries. Moving materials, raising, lowering and removing large or small objects held in storage containers (boxes, crates, bins or other container types) on pallets from one location to another is the primary use. There are two types of PIT driving operations, the operator either rides or walks behind (a.k.a. walkie) the unit while controlling the forklift. These are not to be confused with modified earth-moving equipment or over-the-road haulage trucks that have modifications to accommodate forks.
Hazards Associated with Lift Truck Operation
Each type of lift truck comes with its own operating hazards. An important fact to remember, it is against Federal law for any person under the age of 18 years old to operate a forklift of any type. Federal law mandates, anyone operating a forklift (18 years of age or older) must be a properly trained and certified operator. The sit-down rider forklift is a counterbalanced high-lift able to lift a high load. This poses a danger of a falling load. Whereas the motorized walk behind motorized forklift, a.k.a. hand truck is limited to the load height it can safely move at one time. The danger of a falling load is lower than the sit-down rider.
Other important safety hazard factors to be considered are the type of workplace environment and surrounding conditions. Maintaining customer safety for a retail store due to congested floor layouts is often a greater challenge than other workplace environments with extra isle space to ensure a person’s safety.
Additional safety hazards can include, but not limited to:
Reducing Hazards Related to Powered Industrial Trucks
To determine the best company practices to prevent accidents and protect workers against injury, the worksite and type of forklift need to be considered. First and foremost, the operator must be properly trained and certified to operate the powered industrial truck accurately and safely. The 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1) outlines the level of training and evaluation required to successfully become certified.
Forklift Inspection Checklists
EMC Insurance Companies
Forklift Safety & Training Videos
State Compensation Insurance Fund
Linde Material Handling
IVES Training Group
A-1 Forklift Training Certification (Training Facility)
Top Forklift Safety Accessories
There are multiple types of forklifts, all with their own unique features. Whether it’s an electric motor or internal combustion engine gas/LPG/diesel powered industrial truck being used, well planned and structured training to become a certified operator is imperative to the operator’s safety, those around them and the company.