Lift trucks are the workhorse in warehousing and manufacturing operations.
Buyers need easy to use, heavy-duty equipment that can withstand daily wear while also providing essential safety features. Large-scale machines like lift trucks must be designed to include safety features that match the machine’s usage and productivity benefits. This ensures that a machine’s benefits outweigh any potential risks of bringing them into a busy environment.
Between operator accidents and pedestrian injuries, OSHA estimates there are nearly 34,900 serious forklift injuries yearly. Innovative safety features and proper training help minimize risks for every worker operating, or working around, a lift truck.
While forklift safety is in constant evolution, there are five features that should always be on your forklift safety checklist so you can better protect your workforce.
Forklift Operation Safety Features
Forklift operators must be mindful of their own safety and the well-being of others in the vicinity of the machine while it’s in use. While rapidity is important, safety is the most crucial responsibility of a lift truck operator when he or she is behind the controls.
Simple features, like wide operator visibility, are often overlooked but can significantly improve the driver’s ability to spot loads and potential hazards.
1. Lift Truck Load Scale Limits
One of the easiest ways operators can cause harm to equipment or themselves is by trying to lift or move a load that is too heavy for the vehicle. All material handling vehicles have a maximum load weight, which, when exceeded can cause tipping issues, severe injury or a costly machine malfunction that will halt productivity.
Lift scales offer a built-in insurance plan to prevent operators from putting themselves in harmful situations. Many lift trucks come equipped with a lift scale, but if yours doesn’t include one, they can be purchased separately and easily installed.
2. Brightly Colored Lift Truck Forks
Although it may seem obvious, one of the simplest forklift safety features is brightly colored forks on your machine.
As a result of the fast-moving environments where lift trucks are required, safety measures can occasionally be overlooked while working to maintain maximum production. Basic safety features that can be heard or seen, can significantly lower injury risks.
3. Lift Truck Emergency Kill Switch
In the event of a malfunction, machinery should have immediate shut-down functionality. An emergency kill switch allows operators to stop and cut power when a dangerous situation arises suddenly. As an extra safety measure, the kill switch on RICO equipment will only allow lift trucks to be operated while the driver is seated.
The quick halting capability will most certainly be used at some point during the life of a lift truck, and it could be the difference between a near miss and a costly disaster.
Forklift Safety Features for Nearby Workers
Every manufacturing or warehouse environment has high traffic areas where machinery is routinely operated. With shared paths between man and machine, it is easy for workers and forklifts to regularly cross paths, increasing the potential for serious injury.
Sound alert features will signal to workers in surrounding areas of the machinery’s location and give operators additional warning to avoid people close to their workspace.
4. Back Up Alarm on Lift Trucks
With the constant need to change directions, all forklifts should be wired with back up alarms. Industrial activity can reach deafening noise levels so a loud reverse alarm can help keep workers and drivers aware of one another in a chaotic environment.
In addition to a backup alarm, a horn is vital for drivers as it can be used to warn of potential hazards.
5. Warehouse Machinery Strobe Lights
Forklift strobe lights give drivers and other employees an additional proximity warning to workers and other equipment operators.
Many lift trucks come equipped with some standard safety lights, like RICO’s available front and back LED packages, but add-ons like a blue strobe light can significantly enhance the visibility of oncoming lift machines. Supplemental strobe lights can provide 15-20 feet of additional warning to walkers and help reduce collisions in blind spots, such as warehouse corners.
RICO vehicles are custom built to meet your specific application and the load requirements of any industry. Call us at 330-723-4050 or contact us to learn more.