42 Safer Warehouse www.hsssearch.com SAFER
If you are a forklift driver, here are a
few of the things you should avoid.
• Don’t even think
about driving a forklift you
are not trained to drive. You should
have a certificate for the right
category, and have familiarisation
training on the particular model,
including any optional extras.
• If you are trained, and your company
issues cards or key codes to qualified
drivers, don’t lend your card or code
to anyone else. Remember that if they
have an accident while using your ID,
you will be the one who gets the
• Don’t drive a gas or diesel truck
where there is not enough ventilation
and the emissions will cause a health
hazard. Also think about the product
in the warehouse. Don’t drive a gas
truck if there is fresh baked bread in
the area – it will make the bread taste
of propane fumes and will not make
you popular with whoever eats it.
• Don’t try to “outwit” any safety
features. For example, some trucks
will sound an alarm if you drive off
without fastening your seat belt. Some
drivers try to tighten up the seat belt,
fasten it across the seat, then sit on
top of it. This obviously means that
the seat belt is completely useless –
and to have a buckle digging into
certain parts of your anatomy will be
pretty uncomfortable too.
• Do not remove the backrest
extension, overhead guard, or any
other item of safety equipment.
• If you are using man-up equipment
(sorry about the politically incorrect
name) do not start your shift unless
you know how you will get down in
the event of mechanical failure,
including what will happen in the
event of fire. Can you imagine being
stuck 8 metres in the air on a high
level order picker, and everyone else
then leaves the building when the fire
alarm goes off? It may seem like a
scene from a low budget disaster
movie, but it could happen.
• If you are driving your forklift into
vehicles, don’t do so unless you are
sure that the vehicle cannot be driven
away. There are various ways of
achieving this, from taking away the
driver’s keys (make sure he gives you
the right ones and not those to a
clapped out yard shunter his firm
scrapped 2 years ago), to wheel
clamps. Accidents where a forklift
falls between a trailer and a loading
dock can be very nasty, and far too
• Don’t start work until you have
carried out a pre-use inspection of the
forklift – you should be provided with
an inspection record form, either a
paper version or electronic equivalent.
If you find a fault, report it to the
Most people who have worked in warehouses for a
long time have seen examples of bad forklift practice.
Some are slightly dangerous, and some are extremely
dangerous, but all of them should be avoided. Safety
author Jerry Rudd gives a list of dos and don’ts to
ensure your operators go home safe, every day.
Don’t try to “outwit” any safety
features. For example, some
drivers try to tighten up the seat
belt, fasten it across the seat, then
sit on top of it.
Before you start