For anyone who has had any amount of exposure to warehouse work and other types of hard physical labor, it does not take an equipment specialist to know just how helpful a lot of the heavy machinery can be. But along with providing ease and convenience for the operator, these machines must be respected, well maintained, and well understood in order to best provide the most efficiency and safety. Equipment expertise of the operator really is a necessity to provide the safest working conditions.
Getting to know your machines
Depending on the type of job that you do, you could end up working with any number of different machines. Typically, if the factory, warehouse, or other job site is adhering to safety regulations, there will be a certain number of steps you must complete before you are even allowed to operate the heavy machinery. These procedures are crucial for getting to know the different functions of the equipment, as well as the risks that might come with its operation and how to avoid potential accidents.
One of the most common pieces of helpful equipment at many job sites is the forklift. While it may seem that just about anyone should be able to hop on a forklift and operate it, just like all the other heavy machinery, there are important factors to consider.
Forklift operation and safety
Forklifts were born of the necessity to move heavy objects and large volumes of smaller objects at once. While demand grows and the need for higher rates of efficiency increases, the human body can still only handle so much. Some of the forklifts that are considered more heavy duty have the capability to move loads weighing up to 50 tons.
A typical, functional forklift can only reach a maximum speed of eight miles an hour. No, that does not seem like much at all, considering the incredible speeds we are so familiar with in many other vehicles. But eight miles an hour is still enough to do plenty of damage when you consider the weight and material of the forklift, and it is recommended that in areas where there are more pedestrians, the forklift operator should keep his or her speed down to three miles per hour or less. The forks should always be in the lowest position, whether the machine is in motion or not, except for the obvious times when objects are being moved to different heights. The forklift should be in full working condition at all times, which includes operational features such as clear mirrors, loud reverse alert and horn, and a seat belt.
Repair and maintenance for longer, safer operation
In order to be authorized to operate a forklift, the drivers must be fully trained and certified. The training and authorization process for forklift operation must be renewed once every three years. And just as the operator gets checked on regularly, so should the machine itself get regular examinations. Equipment specialists should make a routine of checking the health and functionality of the machine. Whether there is an equipment specialist on the payroll and close at hand on the job site, or if the company employs outside forklift repair services, it is paramount that the machines are closely inspected to ensure that they are in proper working order.
Everyone knows that safety is key. Taking the time to get to know your forklift, or any other type of equipment, could make all the difference in the safety and efficiency of your workplace.