Keep Yourself Safe! 6 Safety Tips for Bobcat and Forklift Employees

Some of the most common causes of Bobcat and forklift accidents include error, work environment, and mechanical design. Examples include improper turning, driving with an elevated load, and turning too quickly. Fortunately, the majority of these accidents can be avoided through proper training and safety precautions.


Increase your safety while operating a Bobcat or forklift by using these six tips.


1.    Wear Proper Clothing

Wear a hard hat, high-visibility jacket, and safety shoes when driving a Bobcat or forklift. Also, tuck any loose clothing to prevent it from getting caught on the equipment.


2.    Inspect the Equipment

Thoroughly check the Bobcat or forklift each day before using it. For instance, test the brakes, lights, horn, steering wheel, and other operating controls. Also, check the mast and overhead guard for potential damage. Additionally, examine the tires and hydraulic, brake, engine, fuel, and coolant levels. Plus, look for water, oil, or radiator leaks. Further, make sure the forks are straight and free of cracks and distortions. Be sure to log any problems and notify your supervisor if repairs are necessary. Do not use the equipment if it is unsafe.


3.    Maintain Visibility

Keep the forks of the Bobcat or forklift low to the ground for clear forward visibility. If the load blocks your sight, operate the equipment in reverse. Also, make eye contact with pedestrians and other workers as you drive to ensure you see them. Additionally, look in your direction of travel, and use your rear-view mirrors for increased visibility. Plus, use your headlights if working at night, outdoors, or in areas that require additional lighting.


4.    Monitor the Load Distribution

Be aware of the Bobcat’s or forklift’s capacity to make sure the load is effectively distributed. Also, calculate the size, shape, position, and weight distribution of the load to ensure the equipment does not tip, the steering control does not malfunction, and the load does not fall off the forks. For heavy loads, use ropes or bindings to secure the stacks. Also, travel with the forks low to the ground and the load tilted backward to increase the equipment’s stability. Additionally, check the balance of your loads when placing them on the loading dock so they remain stable at all times.


5.    Avoid Hazards

Do not stand or walk under a load, lifting mechanism, or attachment. The load can fall off and cause injuries. Also, keep your hands and feet clear from the moving mast. Additionally, operate the equipment in designated areas and according to job site policies. Plus, do not drive over bumps, holes, or materials, as the load stabilization may be affected.


6.    Watch Your Speed

Operate the Bobcat or forklift within the posted speed limit. Also, maintain a safe operating distance from other equipment, machinery, and workers. Additionally, slow down and provide warning when near corners, exits, entrances, stairways, doors, and pedestrian walkways. Further, avoid stopping, turning, suddenly changing directions, or making sharp turns at a high speed. These actions can cause the machine to tip over. If the machine starts to dip, stay inside, grip the wheel, and brace your feet.


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