All You Need to Know About Forklift Safety

A fork lift stands unused after hours at Borough Market.

All You Need to Know About Forklift Safety

When it comes to operating heavy machinery, safety is of the utmost importance. Just like driving a car, you will need to have some formal training to understand how to operate one safely and efficiently. MJC takes safety seriously and we work to ensure that that all of our equipment is inspected on a regular basis.

Here is everything you need to know in order to operate a forklift whether you rent one of ours, or you use your employer’s.

Do I Require Formal Training?

Under the Health and Safety act, your employer is required to provide general guidelines as well as formal training for all employees who will be operating a forklift. Employers are bound by the law to provide instruction, information, supervision and training in order to ensure the safety of all employees. They also need to convey risks that are associated with operating a forklift, as well as precautions that should be taken to combat these. According to the law, employers must arrange and facilitate the training; after successfully completing the training, employees will be issued a certificate.

Do Forklifts Require Regular Maintenance?

Yes – forklifts require regular maintenance, just as any other vehicle does. This must be done by qualified professionals to ensure that the forklift is in good working order. The inspector may also check to make sure that the unit is being operated by qualified personnel and that it is being operated in a safe manner as intended. Any infractions or issues that are found will be brought to the attention of your employer. In this case, a follow-up inspection may be necessary. Operators should visually inspect the forklift before using one, and should refer to the safety and owner’s manual to ensure they are familiar with all of the safety guidelines.

Do I Have to Wear a Seat Belt?

As of 2002, forklifts must have some sort of restraining system, on one side only, such as a seat belt. Older trucks that do not have seat belts, but where the risk of injury is considered high, must be modified to include a restraining system. If a lift truck cannot be fitted with a seat belt or other restraining system, and the risk of a rollover is high, then another forklift must be used for that particular operation.

How Often do I Have to Update my Training?

There are currently no specific legal requirements to update training once you’ve received your certificate. However, refresher courses are always recommended in order to ensure the utmost safety and compliance measures. If you feel that you need a refresher course, it’s up to you to contact your employer and request it.

Do I Need to Wear Protective Gear When Operating a Forklift?

Those operating forklifts need to wear the appropriate clothing and gear. This includes steel-toed shoes or boots, reflective gear or jacket, and hard hats. Never wear loose clothing as they could interfere with the controls or become caught on the truck. It’s also important to remember not to operate the vehicle with wet hands or shoes as your hands or feet could slip and cause an accident.

 

Editorial originally featured on the MJC Services blog.