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How To Safely Operate a Forklift on a Construction Site

How To Safely Operate a Forklift on a Construction Site
Posted in: Tech Notes
Apr 11, 2013 - 6:04:37 PM

Forklifts are essential to the work performed on many construction sites, but they must be handled properly to avoid injury to the operation and other people on the job site. There are things that both the foreman and the forklift operator must do to make sure that the forklift is operated in a manner that keeps everyone on-site safe.

Ideally, anyone operating a forklift on the job site should have successfully completed a certification program. Proper training is your number one asset in avoiding forklift accidents. Understanding the principles of how a forklift works is a major part of making good decisions when operating one.

For instance, when going down an incline the forklift should always be backed down with the load in the uphill direction. If you drive the load facing toward the downhill you may lose traction on the wheels that steer the forklift or you may even tip the forklift over.

Forklifts contain a counterweight in the back of the vehicle to balance the weight of the load in front. This counterweight must always be taken into account when you operate the machinery since it affects its center of gravity.

How To Safely Operate a Forklift on a Construction Site

An untrained forklift operator will not adequately understand a forklifts center of gravity or its stability triangle, and they may tip the forklift over and injure themselves or other people on the job site.

To avoid tipping the forklift the operator must avoid mistakes like putting the load on the tip of the fork, tipping the load too far forward or backward when lifting it, loading too wide a load for the forklift, or making movements that shift the center of gravity of the forklift.

These mistakes can be avoided most of the time by training your forklift operators to always make sure they always check to make sure their load is on properly and to never load the forklift beyond its capacity. Loading a forklift beyond the capacity it is rated for is one of the leading causes of forklift accidents.

A forklift driver should never operate the machine at a higher speed than necessary. Driving the forklift slowly allows a larger reaction time to unexpected problems like a slippery floor or the load shifting. A forklift should never be operated at a speed faster than a brisk walk.

Always make sure your forklifts are inspected regularly, and never let your workers use a forklift that is in anything less than perfect working order. Even a small malfunction can cause a dangerous situation.

For information on forklift hire and forklift safety, visit www.eureka-forklifts.com.au.

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