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Laura Holland: Back to basics

Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 ( #676 ) - United Kingdom
Safety First
Laura Holland
Laura Holland is ESE Direct's social media and web content coordinator. ESE Direct supplies a range of forklift cages.

When working in a warehouse, factory or other industrial premises, you are likely to come across the use of a forklift. Safety when using a forklift is of the utmost importance, not only to you, but to colleagues. There are several things to bear in mind when operating a forklift truck:

Operators must be qualified
To operate a forklift, you must undergo the necessary training and testing. Once you have passed, you will be given a licence to operate the forklift.

Forklift cages are designed to aid in access to high racking and storage areas, making it safe and easy to reach goods or equipment.
Appropriate clothing must be worn
Appropriate clothing should include:
• Hard hat
• Safety shoes (usually steel-capped)
• Hi-vis jacket
Also make sure that the clothing is fitted, but not restrictive.

Examine your forklift and any additional equipment before use. Before you use your forklift and any attachments that you may be using with it, check the following for faults:
• Brakes
• Steering
• Controls
• Warning devices
• Mast
• Tyres
• Attachments are fixed on securely

Avoid Hazards
When operating the forklift, it is imperative that you stay away from uneven or loose ground surfaces as well as slippery conditions.

Make sure you keep a safe distance from other trucks in the vicinity and give plenty of room when you are manoeuvring.

When you are going round a corner, it is advised to sound your horn so people know you are approaching.

Load should be stable and secure
Before you move double check that your load is secure and stable and not likely to come loose or topple.

Clear visibility
When manoeuvring the load into racking or up a ramp, make sure that you have clear visibility and your view is not obstructed so you can see everything that is going on and make quick adjustments if need be.

Driving on ramps
You must always drive up ramps in a forward direction; you should never reverse up a ramp. You should also never unload or load goods on a ramp.

When you are finished
When you are finished operating the forklift, make sure that it is returned to its designated area, that the forks are lowered, and the park brake is applied and the forklift is switched off.

You should never leave a forklift running unattended. Forklift trucks can take a number of attachments, such as drum rotators, tines, spreaders and forklift cages.

Forklift cages are designed to aid in access to high racking and storage areas, making it safe and easy to reach goods or equipment.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when operating and using a forklift cage.

• Check that the platform/cage is securely attached to the forks or carriage.
• The mast must remain vertical.
• The platform must also remain horizontal and centred.
• The forklift must be on firm and level ground with no uneven surfaces or bumps.
• When the platform is raised, all controls must be in neutral and the parking brake applied.
• Any overhead obstructions should be avoided.
• Only a trained operator should be in a position to control the vehicle.
• Make sure that the combined weight of the platform, personnel and equipment does not exceed one half of the capacity of the forklift truck.

If the cage has full safety, it is not mandatory to wear a safety harness; however, it is at the discretion of the user to assess the situation and wear one if they feel it is needed.
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