Use your Fork Correctly

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Forklifts are used in our facilities and projects and are an absolute necessity to get the job done. Forklifts are needed to lift and carry the product we make and install, load the trucks, and to deliver material and supplies to the job site. However, forklifts also are dangerous and can cause injuries or worse. Forklifts can be one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment in the workplace. OSHA estimates an average of 101 fatalities and 94,570 injuries occur annually due to unsafe forklift operation. Like all sustainable solutions to loss, the first step is to take a proactive approach, and at Wachs, we have a three-fold approach,

Train, Inspect, and Observe

 

Train 

We provide training from both direct supervision and safety department to all employees who will operate trucks. Only those who pass training and observation will be certified by Wachs Services to operate our forklifts. Wachs training for forklift certification is done within the require three-year cycle, or more frequently as needed. 

We ensure training content covers the following topics: 

  •  Operating instructions and manual, warnings, and pre-cautions for the types of forklift the operator will be authorized to operate 
  • Differences between forklifts and other mobile equipment 
  • Controls and instrumentation 
  • Engine/motor operation 
  • Steering and maneuvering 
  • Visibility and blind spots 
  • Fork attachment, operation, and use limitations 
  • Forklift capacity and stability 
  • Vehicle inspection and maintenance requirements 
  • Refueling and charging 

Inspect 

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Before operating a forklift check that it’s ready for use, capable of doing the required tasks, and safe to operate. Any issue should be reported immediately to your foreman or manager and the lift will be taken out of service until further notice by management. Each forklift has a pre-use checklist, kept in a notebook on the lift; use it and ensure that the inspection is documented, before operating the lift. Our inspection include: 

Key-off checks

  • Tires – check all tires and inspect for wear or damage 
  • Fluids — check oil, hydraulics, battery, fuel, and coolant Check for fluid leaks or fluid on the floor beneath the forklift 
  • Mast — check mast for any wear to chains and guides, inspect hydraulic cylinders and look for any leaks 
  • Forks — inspect forks for any sign of damage 
  • Overhead guards — check for broken, cracked or damaged guards 

Key-on checks

  • Lights — test the front, tail, reverse and brake lights 

Engine running checks

  • Steering mechanism — check for any free play 
  • Gauges — make sure all gauges are properly functioning. 
  • Brakes — check brakes and parking brakes 
  • Load handling attachments — make sure all load handling equipment is functioning correctly 
  • Warning Devices — check lights, horn and back-up alarm 
  • Exhaust — check for leaks, sparks or flames being emitted 
 

Observe 

Supervisors and management observation of the shop floor is a critical step in all matters of safety, quality, and productivity. Any deviations from training, safe operations, or the care of equipment will be discussed, documented and managed. 

Conclusion 

Simple, safe practices such as observing speed limits (operating speed no faster than a brisk walk) wearing correctly fitted seat belts, slowing down and sounding the horn at an intersection and blind spots make a big difference. Having a safe work environment, effective employee training, well-maintained machinery, policies and procedures and effective supervision all will keep Wachs ahead of being part of the sobering statistics by reducing the risk of forklift-related injuries. 

 

 
 

More great info in this edition of Wachs Weekly!