Driving a forklift truck requires a lot of know-how as well as good reflexes. In fact, driving an industrial truck involves real risks. Each year, there are around 8,300 accidents with lost time for drivers of self-propelled handling trucks.
But to what are they due? Most of the time, accidents can be avoided with good habits and compliance with safety rules and the warehouse traffic plan.
But are you really up to date on all the rules to follow when driving a forklift? To find out, make sure you don’t make one of these 10 common mistakes:
1. Backing up with the help of the Mirrors:
One of the most important things to know is that mirrors are not designed for reversing. While they are a particularly useful asset when maneuvering, remember that to travel in reverse (particularly suitable case: when visibility from the front is reduced by a bulky load), you must look directly behind you.
2. Do not check the weight of the pallet before lifting it.
The habit of taking the same type of load or using the same cart all the time can play tricks. Indeed, the trolley is not necessarily adapted to the weight of the load. You must therefore ensure that you only lift and move loads suitable for your trolley. To do this, simply refer to the load plate. To help you, you can consult our article dedicated to reading the load plates!
3. Do not get Attached:
Even on short journeys, the risk of overturning exists. Lift truck manufacturers are required by law to have a restraint system. The belt is not the restraint system used in all cases, however it avoids fatal accidents during overturns (operator kept inside the passenger compartment without risk of crushing or cutting). So buckle up as soon as you ride your trolley! See our article on seat belts and restraint systems for more info.
4. Charge the battery without wearing PPE:
The recharging of the batteries is subject to many rules: it must be carried out in a ventilated area and if possible specific for this purpose (above 50Kw of charger power, a charging room is compulsory), no room should be placed. metallic on the battery, you must not smoke (release of hydrogen at the end of charging = risk of explosion) … But above all, wearing PPE is compulsory for protection, in particular glasses and gloves. For more tips that will extend your battery life, click here!
5. Do not report an anomaly to your park manager:
When taking up a shift or at the end of a shift, you may notice an anomaly: water, fuel, oil leaks, etc. it is essential to report this unusual event to your fleet manager in order to regularize the situation as quickly as possible and ensure your safety and that of other operators on this truck.
6. Do not adjust your seat/driving position:
Most forklift now has driving positions that can be adapted to each individual, in particular the seat (which can move forward or backward depending on the length of the legs, and adapt in weight and possibly in height) but also concerning the steering wheel (inclination and depth). Taking a minute to properly adjust your workstation reduces the risk of MSDs and fatigue at the end of the day. Think about it! The work will be more pleasant. For more advice on how to adjust the driver’s cab at the start of work, see this article!
7. Drive with the forks at a height:
Another common error, which affects the safety of everyone in the warehouse, is the position of the forks in circulation: whatever the load (empty or not), it is essential to circulate the forks at 15cm from the approximately, in order to reduce the risk of the load overturning and / or falling: traffic with the load at height causes a shift in the center of gravity of the machine, which reduces its stability.
In addition, driving with the forks raised increases the risk of hitting any part of the building or a structure in the working environment, which would reduce the balance of the truck.
8. Turn the wheels on a slope or on a ramp:
It is especially important to be careful on slopes or ramps when driving a cart. It is in particular essential not to turn the wheels, in order to reduce the risk of the truck tipping or overturning.
9. Riding on a slope with the load down:
One of the golden rules of forklift traffic concerns driving on an inclined plane. Be careful to circulate with the load up the slope:
On the way up, you will have to go forward.
When going downhill, you will have to go down in reverse.
10. Do not adapt your driving in the event of special equipment installed on the truck:
If special or optional equipment is installed on your truck, your manufacturer must provide you with an up-to-date load plate and recommendations for adapting your driving, as the stability of the truck may be affected. Learn how to read a load plate on this article!