Does Your Forklift Written Program Include These Five Key Points?
A forklift written program is an essential tool for developing safe behaviors in the workplace. They provide a semi-permanent reference that ensures everyone is following the same set of rules which are specific to that work location. The next time you review your written program, see if it addresses these five key points.
1. Responsibilities: Does the program specify by job title (or name) who is responsible for implementation, near miss/accident investigations, and other key functions? Who is responsible for reviewing the written program and enforcing it? A lack of accountability will torpedo even the best written program.
2. Shipping Procedures: While the forklift driver controls the loading and unloading process, does your program include ways of ensuring that a truck is ready to be unloaded? That is, are the chocks in position, dock lock activated, and trailer jacks in position? And how does your forklift driver ensure that the other driver (i.e., the truck driver) doesn’t drive away before loading is completed?
3. Stacking Guidelines: Stacking materials in a stable configuration is not a skill that should be learned through trial and error. The proper method for keeping each of the handled materials from sliding, spilling or collapsing should be specified in the program and reviewed in the training sessions.
4. Safe Operating Speeds: Twenty miles an hour may be a safe speed in one location at a specific time, but deadly somewhere else. Does your program address speed limits and do your operators understand that these limits may be too high under certain conditions? The operating surface, stability of the load, vehicle/pedestrian traffic, and slope will all warrant operating at a slower speed.
5. Contractor Use of Forklifts: Do your contractors use your forklifts? If so, how are they informed about your program requirements including speed limits and stacking guidelines? Were they trained on your type of forklift or another type with different characteristics?
If your program addresses each of these items, congratulations. If your location doesn’t have a written program, we’d be glad to send you one. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to share your experiences/photos of forklift incidents that can educate others on the principles of safe forklift operation please send them to: bhulberg@D2000safety.com
We will not publish company or individuals names.
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