If you’ve ever worked in a warehouse, you know the dozens of types of equipment being used all at once. You’ve probably also noticed the chalk/whiteboard hanging, displaying “days without an accident”.
Well gee, that’s kind of unnerving. They don’t have those signs other places!That is because a lot more accidents happen in the hustle of a warehouse than happen elsewhere. Not only is the equipment being handled much more dangerous, but the products being dealt with are usually heavier and in larger quantities.
So what can be done to increase safety and decrease accidents? Apart from never using the actual equipment, there are quite a few things to increase the safety of users.
It seems like common sense, but it can easily keep a minor burn or cut as minor and prevent things getting worse. A first aid kit, eye rinse sink and emergency shower should be stored on site so as to easily control any accident. Have protective hand-wear, eye-wear, headgear and clothing on hand when necessary or desired.
By simply making sure all drivers/operators of pallet jacks and forklifts are certified, you can be assured they’ve taken the proper training and been educated on the operating of these machines. It is like driving a car. Would you feel comfortable if the person driving next to you had never read the safety manual or driving instruction book? Probably not. Even if it seems like the information is slipping as soon as it is being read, you’ll be surprised what can be recalled in a time of need.
To prevent a malfunction, overheating or something else unwanted occurring while the lift is in operation, it is best to inspect the machine before use. Ensure a check-list is in place and each operator has one to go through before operating. Check for oil leaks as well as hydraulic, break and steering systems. Thoroughly check the tires for any flat or uneven spots that could cause the machine to tip once it’s carrying a load.
Forklifts have batteries just like cars. And just like cars, they occasionally need maintenance. Also just like a car, the more it is run the more frequent maintenance, recharging and replacing it will need. It is important to wear protection when dealing with batteries as the acid and other ingredients are dangerous. Care must be taken and instruction given to prevent acid fumes from being inhaled as well. Therefore be sure to deal with the batteries in a well-ventilated area.
Pallet jacks and forklifts are quite large. And quite heavy too. It is quite common for toes to get run over, items to get backed into or much worse. This has happened because surroundings were ignored. To avoid this, make sure there are lights and some sort of alarm that will alert people behind and in front that you are operating.
Never load your pallet jacks with unbalanced loads or items that aren’t meant to be transported by way of forklift/pallet jack. Once the load is elevated to a certain height is where an issue would arise. It is also when it becomes even more dangerous. Ensure staff knows how to stack them properly and check them as well. Plastic wrap is a good idea to wrap around your load to ensure it all stays together. Ensure staff knows what items are stackable and what items aren’t. If you feel you don’t have the necessary pallet lifting equipment, Utah is an easy state to obtain everything you need. Some states like Utah and Colorado have widely known Material Handling companies that can answer more in depth questions and get you set up with proper equipment.
Pallet/fork lifts often tip due to uneven flooring or running over thing they didn’t see. Ensure your warehouse flooring is very even and the area surrounding your shelving is clear of other debris that might hinder operators. Make sure the shelves they are staking can handle not only the fork lift approaching them but also the load being distributed.
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Written By Shelby Morrison
Shelby Morrison has been writing for seven years in various categories. She specializes currently in articles, web content, short story and novel writing, passionately yearning to write full-time. She enjoys writing educational articles about safety in the workplace. She is always looking for a challenge and trying to help other writers with her blog www.fromonewriter.blogspot.com.