Forklifts are essential tools at many of our members’ workplaces. Just as essential is the need for employees to operate these machines safely.
When forklifts are driven off loading docks inadvertently or fall between docks with unsecured trailers, employees are easily injured. Workers can also be injured when struck by forklifts when drivers are unaware of co-workers around them. These powerful machines can inflict severe physical damage and deserve to be respected by both operators and pedestrians.
Most forklift-related incidents involve property damage, including damage to overhead sprinklers, racking, pipes, walls, and other machinery. Forklift operators must consider load type, driving speed, inclines and declines, as well as the floor surface type when moving about in their work environment.
Just as pilots perform a pre-flight safety check before taking off, forklift operators must complete a safety check at the start of the day to ensure the equipment is safe to use.
Washington Code, WAC 296-863, states that forklift operators must be at least 18 years of age, trained, and certificated before operating these machines. L&I accepts online training that provides a certificate of completion. Also, demonstrating knowledge of the formal training with practical use under supervision is a great way to ensure the operator fully understands how to use the machine safely.
- The RS Safety Library has safety presentations.
- RS SafetyTV has several videos to show safety awareness.
- Here is a 32-page guide on the safe operation of forklifts.
Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members with safety. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].