Fork Lift Trucks are used to raise, lower or move large objects or several smaller objects at the same time. They can be driven by an operator or mechanically controlled. In either case, identifying the hazards of moving heavy materials in this manner is of prime importance.
When heavy objects are moved from place to place, there is the possibility of at least some of the objects falling off the forklift. And as the objects can be well off the ground in a fork lift truck, it can lead to a serious accident. There is also the possibility as with all moving vehicles that someone walking nearby can be hit by the fork lift. Also, the driver may inadvertently make a wrong turn and crash into a wall, equipment or even another vehicle.
Just as with driving a car, bus or truck, the driver of a fork lift must demonstrate competence by successfully completing the training and evaluation specified under OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178. In addition to driver education, the employer has a number of responsibilities when purchasing fork lift trucks with regards to how they should be used within a facility.
All fork lift trucks must meet the design and construction requirements that have been established by the American National Standards Institute under Part II, ANSI B56 1-1969. This comprehensive standard contains both mandatory and advisory provisions for manufacturers of forklifts, purchasers or owners, employees, government bodies, specialists, insurance representatives, installers and utility companies.
For manufacturers, the rated capacity based on the strength of the various components in the truck must be extremely accurate. Each truck manufactured must have a durable, corrosion resistant nameplate containing the truck model and or a serial number as well as the approximate weight. Calculated Stability Factors must be performed.
Owners and Operators must be trained to adhere strictly to the operating instructions. Extra consideration must be given to the amount of forward and rearward tilt used in every application. Modifications to the fork lift can only be made with the manufacturer’s prior written approval. High Lift Rider trucks must be fitted with an overhead guard to provide protection from falling small packages or boxes. Special regulations developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) must be followed when handling flammable liquid fuels. It is also recommended that all aisles, paths, floors and ramps that will be used by a forklift, be marked using the USA Standard Safety Color Code for Marking Physical Hazards. This information can be found in ANSI Z53.1-1967.