forklift-footballer-cartoonNow the summer’s here, working in the open air – in a haulage yard or similar – seems like a very attractive part of the job for many fork lift truck users.

However, don’t get carried away with the fresh air and sunshine… the yard can be a very dangerous place if your mind isn’t giving 110% on safety.

So, in the spirit of the World Cup, we’ve picked our own starting eleven – the essential tips every user should know before tackling the yard…

1. Use the right kit. Warehouse equipment like reach trucks and stackers isn’t designed to be used outdoors. Check that your truck is OK for yard use before you go outside.

2. Tidy defence. A messy yard is full of danger.  Simple items like loose planks of wood can tip a fork lift truck over – crushing or maiming the driver.

3. Pitch inspection. Make sure the surface of the yard itself is well maintained. Potholes are another common cause of tipping accidents.

4. Solid at the back. Before you take a fork lift truck onto the back of a lorry, check it’s secure and stable – and that it will take the combined weight of your truck and your load.

5. A mountain to climb? Gradients of any kind can be dangerous to lift trucks – try to avoid them. If you can’t, be sure to go straight up or down, not sideways (for more information on gradients, hit the net – there’s a factsheet on our website

6. Watch your pace! Something about crossing open spaces makes it very tempting to overdo the throttle – don’t do it, and don’t let your colleagues do it either if you value safety at work.

7. Taking corners. Remember – steer gently! Even at low speeds, a sharp turn can tip your truck over.

8. Zonal marking. As much as you can, keep fork lift trucks, lorries and pedestrians separated with traffic circuits and warning signs.

9. Flashy play? Flashing lights and warning bleepers can sometimes be a good idea – but bear in mind they can also be a distraction.

10. Great vision. It’s important you can see clearly where you’re going – so if you can’t see forwards, either travel in reverse or get a team-mate to act as banksman and give you directions.

11. Lethal in the box. If you’re using a petrol, diesel or gas powered truck in a confined space like a container or covered lorry, look out for a build-up of dangerous fumes.

(Sub: 12. Don’t score an own goal!  Make sure all your trucks and equipment are properly maintained).

Of course, this is just a starting point… Any fork lift operator who’s serious about safety at work should make a note to attend the FLTA Safety Conference – 22nd September 2010 – where these safety issues and many more will be discussed in greater detail, helping you to stay safe …and goal side of the law.

The FLTA would like to underline its thanks to the Safety Conference’s loyal supporters – sponsor Calor and media partner Warehouse & Logistics News.

All-inclusive tickets are available now, at just £80 plus VAT for members of the FLTA or its Safe User Group and £107 plus VAT for non-members. Further details and a booking form are available on the FLTA website, by calling Tricia at the FLTA office on 01256 381441 or by faxing 01245 381735. You’ll be sick as a parrot if you miss it!

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