We can’t control or predict the actions of others. We’re particularly aware of this when driving our cars and it’s true in the materials handling environment, too. We have many years’ experience of working with forklift operators’ helping to reduce accidents and keep operators safe. Here are a few sensible precautions that truck operators can take to help minimise the risk of accidents with customers or fellow workers:
1. Ensure reversing bleepers or horns are working so that you can be heard properly – they should never be switched off!
2. Operate lift trucks within marked areas so that others will know where you will be working
3. Take personal responsibility to be alert to the dangers that can arise when pedestrians and trucks share the same space
4. Remember that pedestrians/customers often don’t realise how tight a forklift’s turning circle can be and are often surprised by how fast a forklift can turn
5. If working with HGV drivers, make sure that you both know what the other is doing – especially if the lift truck is working on the back of a lorry
6. Always put safety first when working with HGV drivers; poor communication can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. Ask the driver not to move until you have given the OK
7. Don’t drive onto a transport vehicle unless the driver confirms the handbrake is on – better still, insist the wheels are chocked.
8. Ensure the driver communicates with you. Agree a signal with the driver to ensure clear communication. This might sound excessive, but it is vitally important, and can often be missed or assumed, leading to accidents
9. Ask the driver to leave the vehicle keys in the office whilst loading takes place. He or she will respect your focus on safety
10. Make sure you know where the HGV driver is at all times while you’re manoeuvring Remember, not everyone is as safety-conscious, experienced or as well-trained. The golden rule is – decide now to take personal responsibility for site safety and never assume you know how others will act.