What to Include on Your Forklift Safety Checklist

Electric Forklifts

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 contains legislation that governs general forklift safety and as such, it covers many different aspects of workplace safety and occupational health concerns that are most commonly enforced by government professionals, including the Health and Safety Executive and even the local authorities.

If your premises are inspected and you’re found not to be following the correct procedures and guidelines regarding health and safety in the workplace, especially if it involves forklift usage, then you could face having to pay hefty fines.

For the sake of your employees’ safety, health and wellbeing and also to save your bank account, it’s imperative that you’re meeting all the health and safety requirements that are outlined in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. To help you do this, Refurbished Forklifts have presented a number of forklift safety checklists that you can follow.

For more information about how you can make your premises as safe as possible for all involved, contact your local authority or check the government website.

Forklift equipment safety checklist

Your operators should be provided with a straightforward, clearly-outlined daily forklift safety checklist that should be used before the start of each individual shift – this is absolutely paramount. This forklift safety checklist should include looking at the following forklift elements/parts:

  • Tyres
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Hoses
  • Pipes
  • Warning devices
  • Lights
  • Alarms
  • Other moving parts

If any part of the forklift is found to be broken or damaged, then that forklift should not be used. It should be flagged immediately and arrangements should be made to have the vehicles professionally repaired as soon as possible in order to limit downtime.

Do you have a forklift maintenance policy?

Forklift maintenance should be carried out as per the manufacturers’ recommendations. Depending on the age and fuel-type, you might find that one forklift might require more maintenance than another.

Maintenance doesn’t always include having parts fixed or replaced, it could merely be checking the overall condition of the vehicle and whether it’s safe to continue using it. The rate at which a forklift needs maintenance will also depend on the number of hours it has worked so, therefore, those hours should be carefully recorded.

Who carried out/will be carrying out your forklift maintenance?

It’s essential that any maintenance is performed by a qualified, competent person. Usually, this is carried out by a dealer service engineer or another fully-trained, highly-skilled technician. Repairs and replacements should also be conducted by qualified personnel. If you’re outsourcing this service, make sure you check all the relevant paperwork, including certifications and qualifications, and ask to see an I.D. badge also.

Ensuring only competent people are working on your machines will keep your workers protected and it’ll also ensure you’re not paying more than you have to in a bid to keep your fleet running smoothly.

Forklift & workplace safety checklist

It’s important that the right signage and information is displayed to employees, whether they are operating the forklift or are working on the shop floor, as it’ll help to protect them from harm at all times. Although a forklift should have flashing lights and sound alarms so everyone knows one is nearby, some workers might choose to wear ear muffs to dull the sound. Make sure visual prompts are there in addition to audible ones.

Is there adequate signage & instructions to ensure a safe working environment?

Workplace safety signs should warn forklift operators and those on the warehouse floor of the following:

  • Hazardous materials
  • Height restrictions
  • Temporary hazards, such as debris or spillages
  • PPE or safety gear requirements in certain areas

Are operating distances & speed restrictions clearly displayed?

Forklift operators should be driving the vehicle at limited speeds to protect those working on the warehouse floor. These speed instructions should be strictly followed to ensure the safety of everyone, including the forklift driver. Going at excess speeds could cause a machine to topple over, harming the operator and potentially damaging the forklift and any stock it might have been carrying at the time.

Signs should be erected to warn the driver of:

  • Sharp turns or bends
  • Sudden required stops and starts
  • Changes of direction
  • Pedestrianised areas
  • Gradient changes, such as going from flat ground to downhill gradients
  • Terrain variations, such as going from smooth tarmac to gravel
  • Safe/recommended operating/travelling distances

Forklift & personnel safety checklist

Another key factor of workplace safety, especially in the warehouse, is ensuring that your employees are continuously protected from harm at all costs. There are very specific requirements for a warehouse owner to adhere to in order to keep their workers safe, including the following:

Have all forklift operators received the necessary training?

The HSE states that forklift operators should be trained in three different stages in order to allow for maximum forklift safety. It’s up to the warehouse owner/manager to ensure that all forklift operators are enrolled onto this training course. Even the most seasoned of drivers will need a refresher course in how to operate a forklift safely. Those stages include:

  • Basic training – learning simple skills such as being aware of risks and judging loads for size and weight
  • Specific job training – this allows for operators to learn the specific needs of an individual organisation
  • Familiarisation training – this is done onsite under constant, professional supervision

Has the right PPE been given out to your employees?

Appropriate clothing needs to be handed out to your employees in order to protect them from harm. During the winter months, extra PEE will need to be given out in order to shield your workers from freezing temperatures, snow, ice, frost and sleet. Some of the items you will need to provide your employees with, whether they operate the forklifts or not, are as follows:

  • Winter jackets
  • Over clothes
  • Gloves
  • Steel-capped boots
  • Hard hats
  • High-visibility vests and/or overcoats
  • Ear muffs
  • Goggles

Make sure your employees know that loose garments should be tucked in or down-sized in order to prevent garments from getting caught in machinery. They should be aware of this particular risk from the offset as it would have been touched upon in basic training. If your employees are not aware of this, carry out separate training sessions specifically centred around their PPE and how to keep themselves safe and protected.

Are your operators aware of the importance of correct driver positioning?

It’s important that your forklift operators are aware of what to do both before and after driving the forklift. Upon entering and exiting a forklift, the driver should:

  • Use the correct steps and handholds
  • Always wear a seatbelt and ensure it goes back with ease
  • Adjust the seat and mirrors to their individual needs
  • Only operate the forklift when sat in the dedicated seat
  • Check mirrors and blindspots before setting off, moving direction or parking

Refurbished Forklifts have over three decades of experience in the material handling industry. With a dedicated team of highly-skilled, fully-qualified engineers at the helm of everything they do, you can rest assured that you’ll find a high-calibre, robust and reliable reconditioned forklift to suit your individual needs. Their used forklifts are all in excellent condition and exceptionally affordable for those with a modest budget. For more information about the second-hand electric, diesel and LPG forklifts they have available, as well as refurbished warehouse equipment such as reach trucks, order pickers and more, get in touch with them at a time to suit you – they’re always happy to hear from you.

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