Forklift Safety Blog #1: Look Out

Welcome to the RB Innovative Products Safety Blog. In this blog series, we’ll share useful safety tips along with some interesting stories.

First, let’s review the most common safety violation committed by forklift operators, especially experienced ones.

OSHA’s General Industry Safety Order 3650:
“(12) Operators shall look in the direction of travel and shall not move a vehicle until they are certain that all persons are in the clear.”

As observed in hundreds of operator training classes, the operator drives the forklift forward into the pallet to pick it up. They enter all the way, raise the forks and then tilt back the forks to secure the load. Then they put the forklift into reverse while watching the pallet to make sure nothing happens to it. Finally, they back up 3 to 10 feet before turning around to look behind them.

Everything is right except they backed up 3 to 10 feet without looking in the direction they were moving. Imagine that situation if you were backing out of a parking space at a grocery store. No one would ever do that in a car and it should not be done on a forklift either. Typically, 50% of students in a training class will violate this rule during the driving portion of the training, even after hearing the rules.

Remember, safe drivers always look in the direction they are going to drive before they move the forklift. Stay safe!

Todd Banks, founder of TJB Safety Training and co-founder of RB Innovative Products, has been successfully training forklift operators since 1988.

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