Since the majority of forklift rental accidents happen because their operators failed to follow basic safety rules, it is important you understand as much as you can about the safe operation of your rented forklift. While forklifts are wonderfully helpful pieces of machinery, they can be deadly if not used correctly.
To ensure you operate your rented forklift safely, follow these tips:
Tip: Always Inspect the Forklift Before Operation
Before you get in your forklift to drive it, first, you must inspect it for damage. The equipment rental company will likely give you a checklist to make this process easy. If they didn't give you one, then there are many basic checklists online you can use.
If you find anything wrong with the forklift, then you should take it out of service and have it checked by the rental company.
Tip: Inspect the Surface You Will be Driving On
Forklifts are designed to operate on a flat surface without any liquid or debris on them. Since trash can become trapped under the forklift and a puddle of liquid on the floor can cause it to slide uncontrollably, you should walk around the area you will be driving and make sure no hazards exist.
Tip: Wear Your Seatbelt and Keep Yourself In the Cab
Once you have inspected the forklift and confirmed it is safe to operate, then you should climb in and adjust the seatbelt so it fits you well. Even if you will only be driving for a few feet, you must always wear a seatbelt when operating forklifts. If you aren't wearing one and the machine tips over, then it could land on top of you and kill you. Additionally, you must keep all of your body parts inside of the cab at all times to prevent injuries.
Tip: Stay Aware of Your Surroundings While Operating the Forklift
When you operate the forklift, you need to stay alerted and aware of your surroundings. You should never wear earplugs or listen to music while operating. Additionally, you should not text or talk on your cell phone.
Before you start driving, you should check for pedestrians and other moving equipment. When it is safe to move, then go slowly and watch for overhead hazards such as:
- light fixtures
- HVAC vents
- fire sprinklers
Finally, as you drive near blind spots or corners, beep your horn so people on the other side know you are approaching.