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Powered industrial trucks are one of the most accident-prone tools in the workplace today. Accidents are quite common, but almost all of them are due to improper training and lack of skill, which is why thorough and hands-on training is critical to working safely.
How to Train
OSHA requires training for all powered industrial truck operators every three years. As a supervisor, your goal is to provide the training needed to highlight hazards specific to your workplace, and the evaluation necessary to keep all drivers up to code.
Before operating a forklift, or going through hands-on training, all operators must participate in classroom or online training. Watch each driver individually to judge their driving ability and to see how they handle tricky situations. Discuss common tasks and obstacles.
Every workplace is different, and each task may require a specific type of forklift. Each workplace will also have hazards unique to it. You must know and understand both forklift operations and potential hazards that exist in your specific workplace.
Preventing forklift accidents requires a good mindset, a good attitude, and thorough, hands-on training. Proper inspection of the forklift is also important to make sure the machine is working as it should be. You must also know how to handle a load, and how each load you carry affects the forklifts' performance.
Report an Accident
At some point, an accident is likely to occur. When it does, you must know and follow the appropriate procedures to report it. Survey the area, take pictures if you can, and speak with all employees involved. If need be, simulate the accident to get a better understanding of what occurred.