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Forklifts are vital in facilitating efficient material handling and logistics operations across industries. Because of the multiple dangers associated with these machines, prioritising forklift safety is paramount in preventing accidents and protecting employees in the workplace. In this article, we’ll provide you with essential tips to help enhance forklift safety and reduce the risk of accidents.

Essential Forklift Licence Safety Tips

Forklifts, designed for manoeuvrability and compactness, can become unstable when carrying loads, especially under certain circumstances. Surprisingly, a standard two-tonne forklift, when fully laden, can weigh around five tonnes in total. A combination of lower stability, increased manoeuvrability, and uncontrolled workplace traffic areas contributes to the high number of incidents involving forklifts. Even at low speeds, forklifts have the potential to cause severe injuries and fatalities, not only to the operators but also to pedestrians who the forklift or its load may strike. 

Whilst the list below is not exhaustive, the following essential forklift licence safety tips can help significantly reduce the risks associated with forklift operations. From comprehensive training and routine inspections to load management and ongoing refresher training, these tips will help ensure that forklifts are operated safely and efficiently, promoting a culture of safety in the workplace. 

Comprehensive Forklift Licence Training: The Foundation of Safety

Proper training is the cornerstone of forklift safety. Ensuring that all forklift operators receive comprehensive training that equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle these machines safely and legally is crucial. Novice, experienced, or refresher training courses should be provided based on the operator’s previous experience. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – By investing in quality forklift licence training, companies can significantly reduce the risk of forklift incidents and enhance workplace safety.

Routine Forklift Inspections for Preventive Maintenance

Regular inspections are critical to identifying any forklift faults or malfunctions. Conducting pre-vehicle checks ensures that forklifts are in proper working condition before operation. Inspect brakes, steering, hydraulics, lights, and other critical components to ensure functionality. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – By addressing machine issues promptly, companies can prevent accidents caused by faulty equipment and maintain a secure working environment.

Creating a Safe Work Environment

Designating specific lanes for forklifts and pedestrians is essential in minimising the risk of collisions. Installing safety barriers, signage, and floor markings to guide operators and pedestrians can help indicate the areas dedicated to forklift operation. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – Implementing measures such as designated traffic lanes and separate pedestrian walkways can effectively prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of employees.

Adhering to Speed Limits and Safe Driving Practices

Strict adherence to on-site speed limits is crucial for forklift safety. Operators should adjust their speed based on the operating conditions, maintaining a safe speed, especially during turns, cornering, or when operating on slippery surfaces. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – Pedestrian swing gates can be installed in pedestrian walkways to prevent pedestrians from walking into traffic lanes without stopping and assessing the situation, thereby raising awareness of their environment and reducing the risk of accidents.

Load Handling and Stability

Proper load handling is essential for forklift safety. Operators should be trained to keep the forks low and tilted back, shifting the forklift’s centre of gravity towards the rear and improving stability. When carrying higher loads, tilting the forks slightly forward helps prevent them from falling off. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – Implement safety solutions that shield pedestrians in allocated zones from protruding forks, further enhancing safety.

Clear Visibility and Operator Awareness

Maintaining clear visibility is crucial for forklift safety. Operators should keep the mast upright and avoid leaning when carrying a load, as it obstructs their view. If the load obstructs the operator’s forward vision, driving in reverse can improve visibility. Regularly adjust and clean mirrors and cameras to enhance visibility. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – By ensuring a clear view of the surroundings, operators can detect potential hazards and prevent accidents.

Importance of Protective Clothing

Both forklift operators and pedestrians should wear appropriate protective clothing to minimise the risk of injuries. Protective gear, including hard hats, safety shoes, and high-visibility jackets, should always be worn. Loose clothing that can get caught in the forks should be avoided. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – High-visibility jackets are essential to help operators spot pedestrians while driving a forklift, reducing the risk of accidents.

Prohibiting Unauthorised Personnel

A simple way to reinforce workplace safety is to restrict forklift operations to trained and authorised personnel only. Pedestrians and unauthorised employees should only operate a forklift with proper training. Clearly communicate and enforce policies and procedures to ensure that only trained individuals can operate forklifts. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – By preventing inexperienced or unqualified operators from operating a forklift, companies can minimise the risk of accidents caused by human error.

Regular Machinery Maintenance and Inspections

Regular maintenance is critical to ensuring the safe and efficient operation of forklifts. Implement a preventive maintenance program that aligns with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regularly check brakes, steering, hydraulics, lights, and other critical components. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – Promptly address any issues identified during inspections to prevent potential breakdowns or accidents. Well-maintained forklifts are less likely to malfunction, ensuring the safety of operators and bystanders.

Fostering a Culture of Safety

Creating a culture of safety is paramount to forklift protection in the workplace. It requires active involvement and commitment, prioritising and promoting safety at all levels. Encourage open communication between operators, supervisors, and management regarding safety concerns, near misses, and potential hazards. Conduct regular safety meetings, provide ongoing training, and reward employees for their commitment to safety. 

MultiSkills Training Tip – By actively involving everyone in creating and maintaining a safe workplace, organisations can significantly reduce the likelihood of forklift accidents and create a safer working environment.

Government Subsidised Forklift Licence Training

The Victorian Government introduced the Skills First Skill Sets Initiative to support more Victorians to access training directly linked to immediate job opportunities and Government priorities. If you are eligible for Skills First Skill Sets with MultiSkills Training, you may be subsidised for up to half the Fee for Service cost of your forklift licence course. Please refer to the statement of fees for course costs.

TLILIC0003 – Licence to operate a forklift truck – Government Skill Sets Available

This provides a fantastic opportunity to upgrade your skills and career prospects.

A safe workplace is reinforced in an environment where training and education are prioritised.  So if you are seeking professional forklift training or a forklift refresher course in Melbourne and Geelong, look no further than MultiSkills Training – a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) authorised by WorkSafe Victoria to issue High-Risk Work (HRW) Licences. As a trusted and reputable RTO with facilities in Werribee and Geelong, MultiSkills Training offers comprehensive forklift courses that cater to beginners and experienced operators.

Call 1800 SKILLS and enrol today!

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