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Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool
 The Workplace

   Physical Conditions
   Pedestrian Traffic
   Ramps and Grades
   Loading Docks
   Narrow Aisles
   Elevators
   Enclosed Areas

Understanding the Workplace:
Physical Conditions
Do not drive over oil and grease spots. Use a dock board or plate to bridge the gap between the dock and the truck being loaded or unloaded.
Figure 1. Do not drive over oil and grease spots. Use a dock board or plate to bridge the gap between the dock and the truck being loaded or unloaded.
Surface or ground conditions are an important part of safe lift truck operation. Operating surfaces must be strong enough to support the forklift, its load and its operator. They must also be free of holes, grease, oil or obstructions that could cause the lift truck to skid or bounce, and possibly tipover.


Slippery Conditions
Slow down to a speed that you can maintain control.
Figure 2. Slow down to a speed at which you can maintain control.

Maintain contact with ground by crossing uneven areas at an angle.
Figure 3. Maintain contact with ground by crossing uneven areas at an angle.
Potential Hazards:
  • Danger of skidding when traveling on oil, grease, water or other spills.
     
  • Danger of tipover when traveling on ice, snow, mud, gravel and uneven areas.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Avoid the hazardous surface when feasible.
     
  • Spread absorbent material on slick areas that you cannot avoid.
     
  • Cross the slippery area slowly and cautiously.
     
  • Report the area to prevent others from slipping.
     
  • Post a sign or warning cones until the area can be cleaned.
     
  • Drive slowly! (Figure 2)
     
  • Maintain contact with the ground by crossing uneven areas at an angle. (Figure 3)
     
  • Clean up the oil or grease spill before proceeding. Driving over an oil or grease spot will enlarge the hazardous area.


Obstructions and Uneven Surfaces
Get off the forklift and remove the obstruction.
Figure 4. Get off the forklift and remove the obstruction.
Potential Hazards:
  • Danger of tipover when traveling over obstructions.
     
  • Danger of tipover in holes and bumps.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Keep all aisles clear.
     
  • Watch out for overhead obstructions.
     
  • Avoid the obstruction or get off the forklift and remove the obstruction. See Parking.
     
  • Never drive straight across speed bumps or railroad tracks. Cross slowly at a 45 degree angle.
     
  • Maintain steering control by keeping contact with the ground at all times.
     
  • If an area is cluttered, walk the route first to spot problems.
For additional information, see Operating a Forklift - Traveling & Maneuvering.


Floor Loading Limits 
Forklift weight exceeded the load limit of the flooring.
Figure 5. Forklift weight exceeded the load limit of the flooring.
Potential Hazards:
  • Danger of collapsing floor.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Observe posted floor loading limits.
     
  • Inspect the condition of the floor. Look for holes or weakened flooring, loose objects or obstructions, protruding nails or boards.
     
  • Inform supervisor immediately if flooring is defective.
     
  • Do not travel over surface that cannot support the weight of the lift truck, its load and its operator.
     
  • Do not enter a box car or semi-van without inspecting its floor and knowing its load limits.
For additional information, see Load Handling: Operating the Forklift.


Overhead Clearance
Ensure adequate overhead clearance.
Figure 6. Ensure adequate overhead clearance.
Potential Hazards:
  • Damage to lights, stacks, doors, sprinklers, pipes.
     
  • Damage to load.
     
  • Danger of tipover.
Requirements and Recommended Practices:
  • Be aware of the height of fixtures.
     
  • Do not travel with loads elevated.

Types & Fundamentals | Operating the Forklift | Understanding the Workplace | Training Assistance
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