August 1, 2013 Forklifts are versatile, effective resources. Not only do they aid the overall work process, but they are relatively easy to operate and maintain a high level of safety awareness – when operators are trained in the area of operator safety that is. This article will discuss how to ride and handle a forklift with safety so as to ensure that you, nor anybody around you, remains risk free. Safety awareness, as it pertains to riding a forklift, whether it’s a battery forklift or not, could save lives. Why be aware of forklift operator safety? An operator that has not been trained put themselves and others at risk. An operator is untrained if they haven’t been taught the general principles of physics, such as how it pertains to what allows a forklift to lift an excessive load; of course if they are not familiar with how their model forklift operates; or doesn’t know how to recognize when the forklift isn’t operating correctly. They need to be aware of the various forklift parts – even if they are simply going to use a forklift rental one time. Statistics show that every year over 100 coworkers are killed from an accident and nearly 20,000 are injured. According to the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities Surveillance System 22 percent of accidents are a result of forklift overturns, 20 percent is the result of a coworker on foot being struck, 16 percent are crushed by a forklift, and nine percent of people in accidents fall from forklifts or hand pallet trucks. What are some basic forklift operator training tips? Initially, there are three parts to effective training. The first part is formal instruction such as discussion, interactive computer training, video footage, or lecture time. The second part consists of hands on demonstrations and exercises by the trainer. The third and final part is an evaluation by observing the operators performance while actually performing on the forklift. There are several basic tips that every operator needs to be aware of: Make sure the load is stable and on the forks properly. Never tilt the forks forward unless to pick up or drop a load. Only tilt the load backwards for the purpose of stabilizing it. When traveling, keep the load backwards and close the ground or pavement. If you need to cross railroad tracks, do so diagonally. Only enter elevators squarely. Keep the load uphill while going down or up a hill. Remain at a slow, steady speed on slippery or wet surfaces. Avoid driving over loose objects or on rough surfaces. As well as that, there are a few pre use inspections that you should always use before operating a forklift. Check to see if the horn is working effectively, check the fluids (hydraulics, oil, gas, etc.), the battery’s connection, the engine, and the tires. Operating a forklift is a serious task. When you’re driving one, you put your life and the lives of others at risk. Staying smart and safe will save lives.