Forklifts have become indispensable in almost every industrial or warehouse work setting. They have become the hands on arms behind transporting materials around a facility as well as lowering or raising large objects on pallets or in boxes and other containers. They also play an important role in storing equipment and objects in the most efficient way, increasing safety performance through better housekeeping practices. In other words, they can be considered the working bees in any workplace.
But due to the nature of their operation and their interface with the facility’s workflow, they pose some risks which must be handled and operated with specific precautions. These risk management plans depend on some considerations including the nature of the object being handled, the surrounding work environment, as well as the design of the forklift itself.
The design of the facility often imposes some limitations when operating forklifts like the width of aisles where the forklift will move, any intersecting worker walkways, pedestrians in the area, etc. Lighting should also be considered whether you need a forklift with its own lighting source.
The work environment can also play a role in selecting the suitable type of forklift. Criteria like fuel source (electric, battery, or internal combustion), emissions control and exhaust, and tire specifications vary from open and indoor work environments.
The nature of the task itself needs to also be considered, the size of the materials being moved, the distance covered, the height they are being lifted are all important things you need to account for carefully (should you take extra precautionary steps in case the load falls from this height for example?).
Any surrounding hazards must be controlled, is there any ongoing work in the vicinity that might interrupt the forklift task? Are there any flammable materials around? Any spilt liquids which cause a slipping hazard around? These are all questions you should ask yourself while planning the forklift job.