Loading and Unloading – Forklift Safety Tips

June 11, 2019
Posted by: Justin Engel

Forklifts have become an indispensable component within supply chain management and logistics. Whether it is within a retail, manufacturing or warehouse environment, forklifts perform an essential service by lifting and transport loads throughout the your facility or work site. Since these actions are performed dozens of times every day, it’s not unheard of for forklift operators – as is the case with any repetitive activity or behavior – to grow accustomed to the dangers associated with operating a forklift. So, in celebration of today – International Forklift Safety Day 2019 – we’re going to look at some tips for safely loading and unloading a forklift to help ensure the safety of forklift operators and those around them:


Know Your Equipment

Before you operate a forklift for the first time it’s important to familiarize yourself with the unit, it’s controls and dimensions. Some of the most important information you should learn before operating a given forklift is located on the data plate, which contains vital information such as the unit’s rated capacity, the rated capacity of the forks and the recommended load center. Operating a forklift outside of these recommended restrictions seriously compromises the stability and safety of the equipment and is not advisable. You should also know the location of the controls and levers, how sensitive they are and if the unit has useful features for positioning a load such as a fork positioner, sideshift or an inching pedal.


Positioning the Load

Using the information on the forklift’s data or spec plate, position the load according to the forklift’s recommended load center. Before inserting the forks, level and adjust the height of the forks relative to the pallet or load and move the mast into an upright position. If loading from a trailer or railway car, ensure that the proper supports (wheel chocks, fixed jacks, etc.) are in position to prevent the any additional movement and make sure the floors will be able to support the combined weight of the forklift and load.


Raising and Transporting the Load

Before raising the load, check your surroundings for overhead obstructions or power lines. With the brake applied, lift the load directly upwards to the required height for transport before tilting the mast. Once raised, constantly scan your surroundings for potential hazards or obstructions (keeping the blind spots in mind) as a raised load compromises the stability of a forklift. As you reach your eventual destination, come to a controlled and complete stop before returning the mast to an upright position and lowering the forks.


When working on or near a forklift, stay alert and prepare for the unexpected. For additional help, tips, advice or training, contact your local Stärke dealer today!


Justin Engel

Justin Engel is the marketing specialist at Stärke Material Handling Group. In addition to content development, he also handles graphic and website design, SEO, PR and strategic planning.

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