How to Avoid Forklift Hazards When Loading & Unloading

Operator unloading trucks with a counterbalance forklift

Forklifts are designed to load, unload, and transport goods. However, forklift hazards are everywhere. Knowing how to properly use your equipment will make these machines less dangerous.

Safe load handling is critical for every forklift operator. There are a number of forklift safety tips that can help ensure proper handling.

In this short article, we’ll cover the basics of loading and unloading trucks with a forklift. Learn more about proper equipment operation and load handling tactics. Then, find the best deal on equipment for your business.

Load Handling Preparation

Before handling a load, make sure operators are aware of all forklift hazards. This includes forklift tipping. Improper load handling can cause the forklift to tip. For example, if the load is off-center or unbalanced, the load may fall or cause the forklift to tip over.

Before lifting, make sure operators know how to secure and stabilize the load. Educate operators on the dangers of other forklift hazards, like overloading. Make sure the forklift capacity is easy to find and is understood by all operators.

Also, check your workplace for environmental forklift hazards. This may include low overhead clearances or sudden drop-offs. Mark these areas with signage that is easy to read, and point them out to all employees.

Loading and Unloading Trucks with a Forklift

When loading and unloading trucks with a forklift, you’ll probably have to drive the equipment onto the trailer floor via a ramp. Be sure to check that the trailer floor can support the weight of your equipment. Check for bowing walls and weaknesses in the floor and ceiling.

Also, make sure that the dock plate is properly secured with an anchor or anti-slipping device. Make sure it can support both your equipment and the load. Load weight should be clearly marked. When unloading trucks via a dockboard, do not stop until you have fully crossed. Stopping on a dockboard can cause it to collapse.

Keep in mind that OSHA forklift safety tips require that wheel stops or chocks be used when loading or unloading a forklift. This will prevent the equipment from rolling.

Operator loading and unloading trucks with a forklift

Finding the Right Equipment for Load Handling

Forklift safety tips are irrelevant if your equipment is already unsafe. Complete a pre-operation inspection before using your forklift. If any issues are found, take your equipment out of service until maintenance is complete.

If you are constantly unloading trucks at different locations, it may be a good idea to invest in a truck-mounted or trailer-mounted forklift. A trailer-mounted forklift attaches to the back of the vehicle for easy transportation with the load. That way you can bring the equipment with you and use it to unload on site.

No matter what equipment type you need, Industrial Forklift Truck can help. Use our free online service to find the best deal on forklift equipment in your area today.

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