Sit-Down Forklift Key Information and Precautions

Posted on November 26, 2021

sit-down forklift imageA warehouse has many vehicles and machines to aid in completing daily tasks. One of the most common is a forklift, a small industrial vehicle with a power-operated forked platform attached to its front that can be raised or lowered. There are many kinds of forklifts including side loaders, telehandlers, walkie stackers, and more. The most common is the sit-down counterbalance forklift. You have most likely seen one of these machines if you have ever worked in a warehouse or on a dock.

Like any machine, forklifts have their uses and their hazards. Some common hazards include:

  • Rollovers
  • Critical lifts
  • Struck by the machine
  • Hit by a falling load
  • Elevating personnel
  • Run-off dock

If you work on or near a forklift, consider these accidents before attempting something risky like getting under the forks or driving erratically. Accidents with forklifts are far more common than you might initially realize. OSHA estimates that there are nearly 100,000 forklift-related accidents every year. Therefore, safe work practices are required for all operators before they can work on a machine.

  • Licensing and Certification: There are specific training and certificates you need before you can operate a forklift, though being a licensed driver can help. These certificates are required as they show if you have the necessary knowledge to operate a forklift without injuring yourself or others.
  • Wear PPE: Personal Protective Equipment is often required for most jobs in warehouses and other industries. Some PPE includes hard hats, gloves, fluorescent vests, boots, and more. Wearing these properly can limit or even prevent some injures from having a serious effect on your health.
  • Mounting & Dismounting: Entering and exiting the vehicle can be dangerous if it is done hastily or carelessly. Make sure to watch your step and use the three-point contact system (hand-foot-foot, foot-foot-hand).
  • Wear a seatbelt: This simple strap is crucial for your safety during a rollover. Make sure to inspect it for tears and wear it properly. However, there are times you may be permitted to operate without one, such as when you work near large bodies of water.
  • Safe Driving: Only ever drive with your body full inside the cab. If your vision is obstructed have a spotter direct you. Always stay at least three vehicle lengths from another vehicle and do your best to be familiar with your worksite as avoid potholes, debris, or other obstructions in the driving path of your vehicle.

These are just a few of the necessary safe practices operators need to be familiar with on the worksite. To learn more about certification and in-depth training, visit the Hard Hat Training series!. They have training videos, kits, and anything else you might need for your industry.

Good luck and stay safe!