Keeping Workplace Safe with Forklifts
Forklifts are extremely handy. These powered industrial trucks are used to lift and move materials over short distances. They have become an indispensable piece of equipment in warehousing and manufacturing.
Forklifts are rated for loads at the specified forward centre of gravity and specified maximum weight. They have rear-wheel steering that increases manoeuvrability in tight situations. These are somewhat unstable devices that can potentially tip over relatively easily as tits centre of gravity varies depending on the load it’s carrying.
With how essential these devices are to warehouses and in the manufacturing process, forklift safety procedures are a huge concern.
Hazards Brought about by Forklifts in a workplace:
Safety must always be a priority in the workplace environment. Forklifts tend to pose a threat to that in warehouses and other environments where they are used.
Several factors and issues factor in to add to the hazards brought to a workplace by forklifts. Such as:
1. Maneuvering- Cars and forklifts move in rather different ways. Forklifts have rear-ended steering. It allows for a rather tight turn radius for the front of the forklift, but at the same time, the back end of the truck swings wide when the vehicle turns. Pedestrians and even individuals who acted as spotters to help drivers manoeuvre the truck must be well aware of its tun radius and position themselves following it.
2. Blind Spots- The machine’s load can create blind spots for the operator. The driver can have their vision blocked by the load. In certain situations, drivers are required to drive the forklift in reverse. For these situations, drivers must be well versed in operating the machine in reverse.
It can cause collisions as drivers will not tell if there is someone in their blind spot. Pedestrians must avoid staying in the blind spots of the drivers.
3. Load Instability- The stability of a forklift is hugely dependent on the load it carries. The load is capable of altering the centre of gravity of the device. Trucks and their loads can become unstable while operating on inclines and slippery surfaces. Even when a truck moves very fast with a load in the raised position, it can be toppling over.
Pedestrians must be wary of the increased instability with the increased load that a forklift carries.
4. Fueling- Options to refuel or recharge a forklift pose fire hazards. It is a huge safety risk as fires can easily break out, and depending on the kind of fire, putting it out can be a different issue altogether.
5. Speed- The weight and the speed of forklifts combine as momentum. As its load plays a huge role in determining the damage it can do. Forklift drivers should obey speed limits as the lack of this can cause severe damage. Pedestrians must be wary and ensure that they are not in the way of forklifts.
It is not very uncommon for forklifts to collide. Tight corners, narrow aisles, and even blind spots can lead to collisions between forklifts. It can happen even during ordinary forklift operations because of negligence and a lack of security tools in the workplace.
A few implementations can be made that can drastically reduce the hazards and damage to personnel and equipment caused by forklifts in warehouses. Such as:
1. Training personnel on forklift safety – This training should not be limited to forklift workers. Even workers who do not operate forklifts must be trained in safety measures. Reliance on common sense, such as believing that a driver will see a pedestrian, can prove to be fatal.
2. Schedule Forklift Maintenance – Monitoring Forklift conditions can make all the difference. It means that brakes and engines should be checked regularly, and it must ensure that they are in perfect working condition.
3. Install systems that alert drivers when other forklifts or pedestrians are approaching – When driving a forklift, drivers are more often than not in a tricky situation. Their visibility and spatial awareness are minimal. In such a situation, avoiding collisions can be complicated. Forklift safety systems can be installed to allow forklift drivers to be aware of their surroundings by alerting them if anything enters their blind spot.
Such systems would help forklift drivers to easily avoid collisions with other forklifts as well as with pedestrians.
4. Several technologies make workplace safety with forklifts much easier – These reliable technologies can drastically reduce delays and accidents. Some systems of this sort are:
TotalTrax ImpactManager RF & ID– this is an access control, impact, and utilization tracking device designed to keep forklift centric environments in mind. When integrated into forklift safety procedures, it can reduce damages and injury costs.
It allows for vehicle access control and operation monitoring. Its user-friendly interface ensures that only trained drivers can operate the device.
The Structure Monitor– It is a device that protects permanent structures from collisions. It can be used as a standalone device when a solar panel is added. It can also be connected to 110V AC.
It senses the generator on the truck as it approaches and sends back a warning to the truck. Thus, it helps in avoiding collisions.
XL Magnetic Field Generator System: This system comes with a variety of components. The XL generator creates a pulsing magnetic field that provides a marker around the truck. The warning module gives the driver a visual and audible warning should a pedestrian get within range of the field while wearing a personal alarm device. This Cab silencer disables the PAD while the driver is wearing it within the vehicle.
Collision Avoidance Module: It is an add-on component of the XL Magnetic field generator. It alerts the driver of sensing the proximity to the generator’s magnetic field.
In Summation, forklifts are beneficial devices and have a wide application in many industries. They can, however, pose a considerable security risk. If the right forklift safety precautions are taken, accidents and mishaps can very easily be avoided.