Forklifts are essential for various tasks around construction sites. Most of us take them for granted without realizing how dangers they can be, whether we’re operating them or working near them.
A forklift is designed to pick up and move heavy objects from one place to another. Lumber, brick, block, shingles, bags of concrete and tubs of mortar are just a few examples of material that can be moved by forklift on a construction site. Other industries use them to perform innumerable lifting tasks.
A forklift should only be operated by a trained and certified person. Never let someone operate a forklift that is not certified to operate a forklift. Forklift certification is valid for 3 years and retraining is required after that.
Inspect your forklift prior to use. Check the equipment for the following: broken/cracked weld-points, forks are spaced evenly and free from cracks, tire pressure, fuel, hydraulic fluid levels, proper labels, roll overprotective structure, load charts and operators manual.
Forklifts can be powered by a variety of fuels like battery, gasoline, diesel, and propane. If your forklift is battery powered, make sure you DO NOT SMOKE in the charging area. If the lift is propane powered make sure you change the fuel cylinder outside, away from any buildings, and remember NO SMOKING is the rule. As always, NO SMOKING when refueling with gasoline or diesel.
After completing your inspection get in the cab and buckle the seat belt. With your foot on the brake, put the gearshift lever in the neutral position and turn the key. Be sure to check all gauges, controls and brakes before moving, and then watch out for all workers in your area of operation. Prior to making any lift, be sure you know the capacity of the forklift. This information is located on the manufacturer’s ID plate. You must also know the weight of the load you are going to lift. If in doubt, or if you have any questions, check with your supervisor.
Always remember to use a forklift only as it was designed. No workers are allowed to ride in or on the forklift—only the operator. If you want to use a forklift attachment like a personnel platform to raise workers, make sure the platform was designed to be used with your specific forklift model. Only pre-approved, engineered or manufacture specific attachments may be used with forklifts.
IF THE LOAD BLOCKS YOUR VISION IN THE FRONT, DRIVE IN REVERSE OR USE A SIGNAL PERSON. DON’T TAKE CHANCES!
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