Five security principles to apply to a storage warehouse

Many accidents involving forklifts in the workplace are easily avoidable so long as companies follow some simple rules - image courtesy of Yale UK
Many accidents involving forklifts in the workplace are easily avoidable so long as companies follow some simple rules - image courtesy of Yale UK

According to a study by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), each year in the UK more than 5,000 people are injured in accidents involving motorised workplace transport and about 50 people are killed.

These types of incidents are often due to negligence of basic safety rules. Here are five basic principles that you should always apply during the operation of an automated forklift truck.

  1. Check the forklift truck meticulously before use

The operator must always ensure that the different systems of the forklift truck are working before the maneuver begins, such as the wheels, direction, clutch, pole, forks, the dashboard signals and the horn. It is also necessary to ensure there is no fluid leakage. In the event of a dysfunction, the vehicle must not be used and the anomalies must be reported straightaway.

  1. Drive carefully

A fifth of all motorised workplace transport deaths are linked to overturning, which shows the crucial importance of a vigilant attitude while driving. Avoid irregular or slippery surfaces, as well as objects scattered on the ground. Check the height of the pole or the load in order to avoid colliding with building elements, in particular before crossing the threshold and gantries.

  1. Respect speed limitations

Moving at a speed of 6 km/h, a forklift truck requires a braking distance of 3 metres. It is essential to respect speed limitations and the necessary security margins required in the presence of personnel or nearby obstacles. The vehicle must not exceed 8 km/h and must be slowed down while approaching cluttered spaces and curves. Brutal braking can make the truck topple on its side.

  1. Balance the load weight

You must conform to the limitations written on the load plate of the truck, ensuring that the load is adapted to the loading and capable of supporting them. The load must be perfectly balanced, stowed and wedged against the maintenance skid. Well-centred and firmly placed on the forks, the load’s centre of gravity must be as low as possible. Maneuvering must be undertaken with the forks 15 cm off the ground at all times – whether the vehicle is empty or loaded.

  1. Ensure good visibility

Make sure that the height of the load does not obscure visibility (at less than 1.2 metres). If the load masks the visibility as the truck is moving forwards, it must be reversed very slowly (except on slopes). If the operator’s visibility is obscured by an obstacle (a pile, for example), he must stop and ask to be guided by one or more signalers.

These 5 points show the extent to which the training of operators plays an essential role in making a storage warehouse safe. To help you in your choices on the optimisation of these 5 key factors, it is essential to get in touch with experienced professionals.