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Forklift safety mistakes and how to avoid them

by Charlie Buelow | Mon, Apr 30, 2018

Forklift operators understand the importance of safety when using a lift truck. They also know how to inspect their trucks to make sure everything is functioning properly before beginning tasks on the job.

However, there are several safety considerations forklift operators and facility managers should know about that aren't included in the typical powered industrial truck inspection. Consider the following three common but sometimes overlooked forklift safety mistakes and determine whether they apply to your facility:

Choosing the right tires for the job

A forklift's tires are the only point of contact between the truck and the ground. Choosing the wrong type of tire for a particular forklift model or job can increase the risk of a blowout or reduced traction.

According to EHS Today, there are three types of forklift tires: pneumatic, rubber and polyurethane.

Pneumatic tires are made for durability, so they're perfect for heavy lifting. Rubber tires are generally chosen for indoor operations where it's unlikely that a sharp rock or uneven ground will cause them to pop. Polyurethane tires are best for electric forklifts.

Understanding how eyewear impacts visibility

Wearing safety glasses or other eyewear can have a big impact on how well you can view your environment.

To find out to what extent glasses and goggles can impact operators' lines of vision, Industrial Vision Corporation, a company that specializes in prescription safety eyewear, decided to conduct an informal study. According to John Stewart, president of Industrial Vision Corporation and EHS Today contributor, a person with healthy eyesight with no eyewear on has a 155-degree range of vision for each eye, 95 degrees toward the ear and 60 toward the nose. Depending on the frame, peripheral vision decreased between 10 and 17.5 degrees in the center-to-ear measurement. The frames created blind spots that required a full head turn to compensate for the loss of vision.

This isn't to say that eyewear shouldn't be worn while operating forklifts; there are many cases where safety goggles or glasses may be necessary. But it's important that forklift operators using eyewear understand the impact on their vision.

Wearing a seatbelt or other restraint

Forklift tipping is one of the most common accidents involving lift trucks. It has the potential to cause severe injury or even death. About 42 percent of forklift fatalities resulted from a tipped truck which then crushed the operator, Material Handling & Logistics reported. Wearing a seatbelt or other restraint system can serve to reduce the risk of injury or death in the event a forklift tips over. Unfortunately, buckling up is a safety precaution many operators forgo.

Whether the restraint system is a seatbelt or type of enclosure designed to protect the operator, it's important that drivers check to make sure safety features are functional before beginning the day's duties.

Working with NMS can help you avoid these safety issues in your warehouse. An embedded technician can help businesses identify safety or maintenance concerns, then address them in a timely manner. To learn more, reach out to NMS.

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