Renting Warehouse Equipment? Tips For Safe Forklift Operation

Posted on: 6 September 2016

When you're new to warehouse management, some of the equipment operation basics are easy to overlook. Unfortunately, when you aren't as attentive to those basics, you increase the risk of injuries and accidents. If you've rented a forklift or two for the first time, you need to understand the fundamentals of safe operation to keep your crew safe. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Proper Loading

Loading the forklift correctly is a key consideration. You need to ensure that everyone driving the forklifts understands the weight capacity of the equipment so that they don't exceed it. In addition, teach all of the operators about even weight distribution across the forks. The wider the forks are on the lift, the easier this is to do. Also, stress the importance of only lifting loads that are secured by tying, wrapping or other means. Anything loose and unsecured could fall, potentially even tipping the forklift. And encourage your operators to carry loads as far back on the forks as possible to help maintain the center of gravity.

Safe Movement

When transporting loads, operators need to be cautious about travel speed. The weight and structure of every load can affect the way that the forklift handles, and traveling too fast could cause an accident. The forks should be held level at all times. An incline on the forks can cause the equipment to be unstable, particularly when it's supporting a load. Finally, remind every operator that they shouldn't travel in the forklift if the view from the operator's seat is obstructed by the load.

Balanced Unloading

Remind operators that the unloading process is just as important as the rest of the operation and shouldn't be rushed. The lift should be squared up to the stack where the pallet is going, then the forks should be lifted. Don't lift the forks until the equipment is positioned; otherwise, you risk making the equipment tippy. Make sure that the load is sitting square on the stack, then back straight up and be sure you're clear of the stack before lowering the forks.

The better informed your staff is about safety and proper operation, the lower the chances will be of any potential problems. Talk with everyone before you rent any forklifts so that everyone understands the expectations, then review them again periodically as a reminder. Your local forklift rental company may even be willing to provide you with some operators or some in-house training about safe operation if you need it. Contact a company like U.S. Lift & Warehouse Equipment Inc for more information.