If you need to rent a forklift for a project that your business is working on, it is vital that whomever operates it knows how to do so safely. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known as OSHA, there are 35,000 serious injuries in the workplace each year that are caused by forklifts and 62,000 non-serious injuries each year related to the use of forklifts in the workplace. Given those statistics, you need to take safety seriously when your business rents a forklift for a project.  

#1 Inspect The Forklift

Each time your forklift operator fires up the machine to use it for a day of work on your project, they need to perform a general inspection on the forklift.

First, they should check all the oil, fuel, and radiator water levels and make sure they are filled up and not below the minimum fill line. Second, they need to look around the machine and make sure that all the wires are intact and that none have become disconnected or compromised. Third, they need to make sure that no bolts are visibly missing. Finally, they need to inspect the fork and guard and make sure that they are straight and not damaged; if they are damaged, the forklift should not be operated. 

Any issues spotted during this inspection need to be addressed before the forklift is put to work. 

#2 Understand The Load Limit

Next, it is vitally important that whomever operates the forklift that you rent understands its load capacity. The load capacity is generally written on the data plate of the forklift.

It is vital that the maximum capacity is never exceeded; it is better to make multiple trips to lower the weight of the load than to overload the forklift and risk compromising the safety of the forklift driver and everyone around them. 

#3 Know How To Load The Forklift Correctly

It is not enough to just understand the load limit, your forklift operator needs to also understand how to load the forklift correctly. The load that you are transporting should ideally be divided up evenly so that the weight is balanced on each side.

The load should rest against the forklift backrest and should be as close as possible to the front wheels on the forklift to ensure that the entire machine's weight and that of its load are centered and balanced. 

#4 Always Be Aware Of The Environment

Finally, it is vitally important that your forklift operator is aware of their environment. Remind them to scan for objects in their path and to double check each route before they take it. Have them honk their horn before they turn corners or back-up to warn other workers who are around them. Make sure that everyone on the job site is aware when the forklift is in operation so they can watch out for themselves. 

If your business does not typically use a forklift, make sure you go over the four tips above for safely operating a forklift with anyone who will be operating it and make sure that all of your employees know to be extra aware and careful when around the forklift as it has a lot of blind spots and requires the operator and those around it to be vigilant. For more information, talk to a professional like All-Star Equipment.