At some point in their career, every forklift driver will make a mistake. Even the most careful driver will bump into something or spear a load eventually. In a warehouse, where there are multiple trucks, lifts, and hazards, the odds of an accident go up significantly. People make mistakes and accidents happen, but knowing that can help you avoid them. Common forklift driver mistakes are avoidable with a little common sense and foresight.
Lack of Communication
A forklift is a dangerous piece of equipment. One of the most common forklift accidents involve pedestrians. Using good communication in the warehouse and on the job can lessen the number of accidents. Communication means you should sound the horn to let nearby pedestrians know that you’re there and moving. When approaching an intersection or blind corner, sound the horn so any pedestrians can move out of the way. Practice non-verbal communication as well. When you look a pedestrian in the eye, it lets both parties know “I see you”.
Trying to get on the job faster by rushing through a pre-shift inspection will lead to problems. The inspection is the driver’s chance to find and document any issues with the lift. They should take their time with the inspection to ensure they do not miss anything. If there’s a major mechanical problem with the lift, such as a leaking hydraulic hose, it will get missed. That could lead to an accident on the floor while carrying a load.
Driving too Fast
A forklift is not built for speed; it’s built for power. They transport heavy loads and lift them in the air. When a driver has a heavy load, they should travel at the appropriate speed for that load. Driving too fast with an unstable load can lead to tipping. If you take a corner too fast, the load will lean to one side and can fall off the pallet onto the floor. The falling load could crush any pedestrians nearby as well.
Not Knowing Weight Capacity
Forklifts carry a lot of weight by design, but even they have their limits. There is a maximum amount of weight every forklift can safely lift. Drivers should know what that is. If they attempt to lift something above the limit, the truck will tip over and the driver will get thrown. The data plate on the truck will tell the driver what the load capacity is, so pay careful attention to it.
If you need a forklift training package to teach new drivers what mistakes, hazards, and pitfalls to look out for, contact First Quality Forklift Training today.