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How to Maintain Situational Awareness While Operating a Forklift

You need to have a heightened level of situational awareness when you operate a forklift. This is an important skill you should have in addition to technical proficiency. This is what will help ensure the safety of the workplace.

First,

You should have a good foundation and this is where thorough training and certification comes in. You can research for training providers for forklift licence and learn more about these training programmes. There are certain blind spots that aforklift will have and you should be aware of this and take steps to navigate the route safely. This requires you to recognise any potential hazards in the vicinity.  This starts with understanding your workspace. You need to be very familiar with the layout of this space along with the designated travel paths. Make a note of the potential obstacles you will encounter within this space. You should have a good idea of how this space is zoned. There will be high traffic areas and then locations with low visibility. There will also be pedestrian walkways in the workplace and you should know where these are. By understanding the space you are in clearly and thoroughly, you will be able to anticipate potential hazards.

However, even if you are aware of what is going around you,

If the forklift has any mechanical issues, you will not be able to ensure the safety of the personnel and inventory. Therefore, before you start the day, you need to perform pre-operational checks so that any mechanical issues can then be identified. You will then know definitely that the safety features of the forklift are functional and visibility aids are in working order. For example, you will need additional mirrors to cover blind spots and lights can be used to warn other personnel of your presence. You will then have a very low chance of encountering unexpected issues. Mirrors and cameras can very valuable in expanding your field of vision. You can minimise blind spots using mirrors and you can have better visibility of the rear thanks to these. There are also cameras installed in some forklifts where you will receive real-time footage of the surroundings. These tools and technologies can help you learn more about the immediate environment.

There are blind spots in every forklift

And this can pose a risk to the people nearby as well as the operator. You need to recognise these blind spots from the beginning and take precautions as explained above so that you are able to have better situational awareness in areas with limited visibility. You can also establish clear communication so that other forklift operators, co-workers, pedestrians or anybody in your vicinity is alerted to your presence. This can be done using designated communication tools of the workplace, signals and horns. Some workplaces will have multiple forklifts that are operating at the same time and you need to have traffic control measures to that the traffic flow can be more organised.

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