Forklift Safe Work Procedures

Traffic Management Plan A traffic management plan is key to addressing many of the risks related to the use of forklifts in workplaces. Effective traffic management plans separate pedestrians, forklifts and other vehicles, to reduce the risk of forklift-related injuries and fatalities. The following are steps to develop a traffic management plan:

• Discuss and communicate among employer, management, safety personnel, forklift operators and workers when developing a traffic management plan to ensure that the plan addresses all the hazards and is agreeable among all parties; • Take into consideration the flow of the work process and the movement of people and forklifts, floor loading capacity, forklift braking distance, turning radii, stability, height and type of load being handled when developing the plan; • Identify any safety and health hazards. Assess the level of risks involved and prioritise measures to control the hazards and reduce the risks (e.g., avoid sharp bends, overhead obstacles, road humps and any underground gas mains or electric cables); • Provide adequate instructions to visitors and all those at the workplace on the site’s traffic management plan; • Identify the most efficient routes and traffic flows; • Reduce the frequency of pedestrian access to forklift operating zone; • Separate pedestrian walkways, forklift routes and operating zones; • Provide barriers, warning signs, designated walkways or other safeguards to reduce risk of collision between pedestrians and forklifts; and

• Restrict pedestrians’ access to areas where forklifts are operating as far as reasonably practicable.

Some examples of control measures in a traffic management plan are:

• Install warning lights; • Provide speed limit signs and boundary lines at forklift operation zones; • Provide mirrors for blind spots and intersections; • Provide adequate lighting; • Provide demarcated walkways; • Provide luminous paint markings; • Provide containment fences; and

Provide signs or safety barriers at all entry or exit points to a forklift operating zone, intersection of walkway and roadway.

During Operation

• Wherever reasonably practicable, the forklift driver should wear the appropriate PPE (safety helmet, safety shoes and reflective vest) during the forklift operation. • Safety belt should be buckled during forklift operation if the safety belt is installed in the forklift by the manufacturers. • No part of the driver’s body should extend beyond the sides of the forklift during operation. • Passengers are not allowed when the forklift is in operation. • The weight of the materials should be confirmed before lifting. The vehicle’s rated capacity must not be exceeded. • All loads should be handled in accordance with the height and weight restrictions on the forklift’s load chart. • Slings, cables or chains should not be attached onto the forks to lift materials or objects, unless specified by forklift manufacturers • Never add extra load to the counterweight. • Ensure that there is adequate clearance before passing under or between structures. • Do not travel under any suspended loads. The operator should always look in the direction of travel and should not move the forklift until he is certain that there is no obstruction or people in the path of travel. Always give way to pedestrians.

• The forklift operator’s view should not be obstructed while driving (e.g., materials stacked above his front view). • In situations where a clear view of the path is impeded, the forklift driver would need to be guided when driving the forklift. The forklift operator should always look over his/her shoulder to check for blind spots when reversing. • If the movement of a load or any part of the forklift creates a danger to workers, the employer should ensure that workers never remain within the range of the moving load. Workers or pedestrians should only be moving in the demarcated walking zone. • When forklifts are in motion, loads should be carried as close to the ground or floor as the situation safely permits. • Loads that may tip or fall and endanger a worker should be secured properly. • Forklifts should not be used to support, raise, lower or transport humans. • Forklifts should not be used to tow or push other vehicles or equipment. • Maintain adequate clearance from overhead structures such as power lines, beams, and so on. • Slow down on wet or slippery areas. • Slow down and sound the horn when approaching junctions, building entrances, exits and blind corners.

• Stunt driving and horseplay are prohibited.

• If a forklift driver believes that the load being moved is unsafe, he should stop the operation immediately and report accordingly.

• When a forklift is required to enter or exit a vehicle to load or unload, the vehicle should be immobilised and secured against accidental movement.

• The forklift driver is responsible for the safety of other workers in the vicinity of the operating zone.

• Workers in the vicinity of a forklift should be aware of the forklift’s path of travel and avoid contact with the forklift at all times.

• When a forklift is parked in position, the forks should be in the lowered position or be firmly supported.

• When a forklift is left unattended, turn off the forklift’s engine, place all the controls in the neutral position, and set the brakes to prevent any accidental movement.

• The height of the forks should not be adjusted while the forklift is still in motion. The forks’ position should only be adjusted when the forklift comes to a complete stop. • Forklifts should not be used to hoist any goods unless equipped with approved attachments from the manufacturer.

Post Operation

• The forklift engine should be switched off, properly parked and the operator out of the forklift before refuelling. • Forklifts should only be refuelled by competent personnel. • Care should be taken to avoid fuel from spilling over the exhaust or engine system.

• Wipe away any spillage properly before restarting the engine. • Refuelling area should have adequate ventilation to prevent the accumulation of flammable vapours. • Open flames and sources of ignitions in the refuelling area are prohibited. • A fire extinguisher of appropriate class and size should be in close proximity to the refuelling operation and the operator should be trained on how to use the fire extinguisher.

Battery: Safe Charging or Changing

• Forklifts should be properly positioned and brakes applied before charging or changing batteries. • Charging or changing of forklift battery should only be carried out by competent personnel. • A designated battery charging area should be set up with adequate ventilation to avoid build up of explosive hydrogen gas and the area should be free of potential ignition sources. • Always add the acid slowly into the water and not water to the acid. Use non-metallic containers and funnels. • Take extra care to avoid spilling or splashing the sulphuric acid solution. It can destroy clothing and burn the eyes and skin. • Always wear facial protection when checking or adding acid. • A water hose is required for flushing spills. • Do not store acid in warm locations or under direct sunlight. • The charging area should have a safety eye wash station. • If batteries are removed from forklift, an approved battery hoist should be provided.

• Batteries should be properly secured in the forklift.

• Inspect cables and replace any visible insulation damage or deterioration with new ones.

• Smoking is strictly prohibited in the charging area.

• Precautions should be taken to prevent open flames, sparks or electric arcs in battery charging areas.

• Tools and other metallic objects should be kept away from the top of uncovered batteries.

• Reinstalled batteries should be properly positioned and secured in the forklift.

Parking of Forklifts

• Sufficient and suitable parking areas should be provided for all forklifts. These areas should be separated from main traffic routes and away from loading and unloading bays. • Before getting off the forklift, lower the forks to ground level, ensure that the parking brake is engaged, the controls are in neutral and the power is shut off. • Do not park the forklift near a source of ignition, for example, near a doorway or a pit. • Remove the ignition key and secure the forklift at all times when not in use. • Choke the wheels if there is a risk of the forklift moving.

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