Forklift Machines: 8 Safety Instructions to Follow
There are many risks concerning worker safety on construction sites. The forklift machine is one piece of equipment that can be dangerous during assembly and use, and safety instructions must be followed to prevent risks. Here are 8 safety instructions to follow to ensure the safety of the workers.
1. Follow the Regulations Regarding Forklift Machines
Any forklift machine found on a construction site must comply with:
- the ACNOR Z256-1972 forklift standard, for machines manufactured before 1987, or
- the Safety Code for Material Hoists forklift standard, for equipment manufactured after 1987.
In Québec, any employer who plans to install a forklift machine must also submit the installation plans (including the disassembly process), signed and sealed by an engineer, to the Commission de la Construction du Québec.
2. Head Protection
The head is the part of the body that we must protect most effectively, and only wearing an appropriate hard hat provides optimal protection. This is mandatory in many working conditions, especially when assembling or using a forklift machine.
3. Marking off The Area
The area at the foot of the forklift machine must be clearly marked to avoid crushing people or trapping them under a load. The worker in charge of positioning the lifting accessories must stand aside before the lifting begins.
The same instructions must be followed when receiving the load: workers must position themselves so as not to be knocked over or trapped under it, and they must wait until the load has come to a complete stop before picking it up. In addition, nobody should ever be or move under the load.
4. The Prohibition Against Transporting People
The forklift machine must only be used for the purpose for which it was designed. It must not be overloaded or be used to transport people, and a pictogram with the phrase “Transportation of people prohibited” must be affixed to the forklift machine.
5. A Lift Mechanic Must Operate the Forklift Machine
Even though forklift technology has greatly evolved over the last few decades and systems are safer than ever before, Québec regulations continue to require a lift mechanic to operate any temporary or permanent forklift system on a construction site. They’re the only person authorized to move materials using a forklift machine.
6. They Must Have Received Training
In order to operate the forklift machine safely, the operator must receive appropriate training relating in particular to the characteristics of the machine.
7. The Mechanic Must be Assisted, If Necessary
The operator must be located in a safe place that allows them to have sufficient visibility of the load to be moved and the area where it will be placed. If they can’t see the load, they can be assisted by a trained collaborator who will guide them using conventional signals and support them until the load has been unloaded.
8. The Forklift Machine Must be Inspected Regularly
The forklift machine must be inspected regularly by an approved body, and a follow-up must be made on the remarks mentioned in the inspection report. If necessary, the machine must no longer be used until the work is done.
Like all construction equipment, the assembly and operation of a forklift machine poses a potential risk to the workers present on the construction site. By training the employees and following the safety instructions, the risks of injuries and accidents are minimized.