Common Mistakes Made When Operating a Forklift

Common Mistakes Made When Operating a Forklift

Operating a forklift isn’t as simple as the professionals make it seem. In fact, despite official training and awarded certifications, workers who use forklifts and material handling equipment every day still make mistakes. Fortunately, these common mistakes, when operating a forklift, can be avoided with a bit of understanding and diligence. Take a minute to learn what common mistakes to watch out for, and how you can work to minimize their occurrence in the workplace.

Poor Speed Management/ Complacency

When an individual becomes complacent operating a piece of heavy machinery, they tend to let their guard down and pay less attention to their surroundings. Complacency often results in speeding, which, in the close quarters of a warehouse, can lead to a serious workplace accident. Therefore, forklift operators must remain vigilant regarding how fast they’re going and always maintain a slower speed to reduce the likelihood of an incident.

Misunderstanding the Forklift’s Limits

Disregarding your forklift’s capacity and weight limits can lead to you exceeding them, putting extra strain on the equipment in the process. With continual abuse, you’ll be speeding up the rate at which you’ll need to purchase new lift truck parts and perform repairs. To best avoid this mistake, forklift operators should familiarize themselves with the specs of their material handling equipment. How much it weighs, how much capacity the machine carries, what’s it’s load center to help keep the load from tipping the forklift. Understanding your forklift’s specifications will help protect your forklift, workers, and bottom line.

Failure to Communicate with Peers

Though one person is driving the forklift, overall forklift operation isn’t a one-person job. Often two or more individuals are involved with the moving of a load: one person driving the forklift and another person directing them into position when the load obscures the driver’s view. As such, it’s during this process to maintain communication as it can prevent both parties from being injured.

Forgetting to Secure the Load

Not every load is lifted on a secure flat pallet. Workers need to be aware of what to do when they’re lifting uniquely shaped items. Failing to secure these objects properly could send them tumbling off the lift, potentially injuring someone. For this reason, be sure always to move slowly when you do.



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