Forklift Safety for Construction Sites

forkliftForklifts and lift trucks are an essential part of most construction projects and carry their own set of hazards depending on the vehicle type and the workplace where the truck is used.

For example, a sit-down, counterbalanced high lift rider truck is more likely than a motorized hand truck to be involved in a falling load accident, because the sit-down rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck. Obviously, workplace conditions, such as weather, also present different hazards.

OSHA carries specific standards for forklift safety, but some of the most important and basic safety measures include:

  • Drive loaded trucks forward going up a ramp with the load upgrade and drive in reverse going down a ramp with the load upgrade.
  • Always drive unloaded trucks with the forks downgrade.
  • Never drive with the load downgrade.
  • Never turn a forklift on a grade.

While many construction managers understand the importance of operating these powered trucks safely, the hazards of parking forklifts improperly has resulted in many accidents. OSHA offers the following guidelines:

  • Select a hard, level surface.
  • Do not park on a grade, unless wheels are blocked.
  • Park in authorized areas only, unless the forklift is disabled. Park a safe distance from fire aisles, stairways or fire equipment.. [29 CFR 1910.178(m)(14)]
  • Lower the load engaging means (lifting mechanism) fully.
  • Neutralize the controls: Set the direction lever in neutral, and lock the mechanism (if available
  • Tilt the mast forward slightly and lower the forks to the floor until the fork tips touch the floor.
  • If the forklift is disabled, and the forks cannot be lowered to the floor, follow proper lockout/tagout procedures. [29 CFR 1910.147] Do not allow anyone to stand or pass under the forks. [29 CFR 1910.178(m)(2)]
  • Get off the forklift without jumping.

For these and other safety tips, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.



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