Defensive Driving: Forklift Safety Tips

27 Jan Defensive Driving: Forklift Safety Tips

All high school Driver’s Ed teachers talk about defensive driving. To a high schooler it may seem strange to first hear the phrase in the classroom, but when used to describe a method of forklift operation to a forklift operator, it shouldn’t sound as foreign. The principles of staying defensive and safe out on the roadway apply in equal measure to the aisles of the warehouse. Here’s why…

In Driver’s Ed, defensive driving was a method to avoid a collision with a vehicle, object, or person; it also helped to build skills to avoid potential conflicts. It’s important to think safety first. When an operator pilots a forklift, it’s important they imagine that no one else knows the basic rules of safety, and it’s the operator’s job to keep everyone working around the machine safe. When allowable, leave ample space between pedestrians and machine traffic. Pedestrians should be given more space than is needed because it’s possible that the forklift operator may have to stop or maneuver their machine to keep pedestrians safe; too little space and the forklift operator may not be able to maneuver the machine away from a collision.  A forklift operator should pay attention to the warehouse, including the traffic and the environment; one unseen obstacle could lead to an accident.

Also, it’s important that a forklift operator get their job done quickly and efficiently; the now overused adage time is money unfortunately applies. But it’s equally important that the operator abides by the rules of the warehouse, driving both efficiently and at speeds determined by company policy to be safe. And a forklift operator should always do their best to avoid distracted driving. A forklift operator has a lot to both pay attention to and, when necessary, react to. Anything that diverts the attention of the operator from their task is something that unnecessarily puts everyone, including the operator, at risk.

Hopefully you don’t mind revisiting a few of the lessons learned in Driver’s Ed. If you have any questions about forklifts and would like to speak with a forklift expert about a new or refurbished machine, call today.

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