What are the benefits of using forklifts in warehouses?
Today, any job requires speed and efficiency. In a warehouse, safety is concerned; These are some of the benefits of using forklifts in a warehouse:
- Increase production
- Accelerate the movement of materials and products
- Reduce losses due to low production
- Increase safety conditions for both staff and the product being handled
A correct choice of forklift must consider, among other things: type of warehouse, size and weight of the load, distances and width of the aisles to travel.
The forklift is an excellent tool to optimize resources and times within a warehouse; however, it is not exempt from risks or accidents in its handling.
Risk situations when handling forklifts
The primary functions of a forklift include loading, transporting and unloading at different levels of materials, the use of the same for other functions (such as platforms) can increase the risk of accidents.
All of the above, at any time and place, presents both mechanical and safety risks in general:
1. Risk of temporary or permanent damage to the transported merchandise
2. Risk of injury or death if the operator:
- You have not received adequate training
- Does not know the technical functions of handling the forklift
- Use equipment in poor condition or with maintenance failures
- Operate the forklift recklessly
Good practices for the use of forklifts in warehouses
The good use of forklifts in the warehouse is completely linked to two factors: the skill and training of the operator and the quality of maintenance that is given to the equipment.
When we talk about good practices in the use of the forklift, we will then refer to the operator and the equipment itself. In addition to the above, the space and surface of the warehouse as well as its organization play an important role in the prevention of warehouse accidents.
- A maximum traffic speed must be indicated for the use of forklifts; in no case this must be the maximum speed reached by the equipment.
- Never drive the forklift with the nails raised and loaded, the load should only be carried between 30 and 50 cm above the ground root.
- Only raise and lower the loaded mast when it is in front of the rack or where the loading and unloading process will take place.
- Never transport anything on the counterweight.
- When entering a curve always honk the horn, thus warning possible pedestrians who are inside the warehouse. Remember that in forklifts the rear wheels are the ones that make the turn that allows entering a curve, for this it is necessary to take the precautions so that the counterweight does not suffer shocks when turning due to having limited space.
- Constant training and scheduled evaluation of operators.
- A visual inspection should be done every time the forklift will be used to check: leaks, lights, mechanical functions (brakes, tires, gas or gasoline, horn, etc.).
- Ensure the application of the basic rules in the use of forklifts such as not transporting passengers and the use of the appropriate type of forklift according to the physical characteristics of the warehouse (open or closed) and the load.
- Preventive maintenance for forklifts; ensure the minimum or nullity of mechanical failures in its operation.
- Good ventilation and lighting
- The aisles must be wide enough to facilitate the transport and handling of goods
- Use of signage on floors and racks that allows the operator to verify their movement space
- Placement of safety supports on the edges of the racks to prevent accidents
- Reduction of the crossing of corridors to avoid collisions
- Availability of exclusive routes for the movement of people
Ways to protect warehouse from forklift damage
There is no question, forklifts are an essential part of the modern warehouse. These vehicles are literally the "heavy lifters" of any industrial facility. Whether it's a simple stacker or something more complex like an order picker, forklifts won't be going out of business anytime soon. In the same way that the forklift is important for the warehouse, they also represent the main danger.
Think about it. A machine that has the strength to lift several tons of weight, moving freely around your warehouse between fragile shelves, expensive machinery and irreplaceable personnel. The damage caused when a forklift causes a rack system to collapse is disturbing and happens extremely quickly.
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent and avoid such potential accidents. Several of the common products help mitigate the hazard of operating forklifts within the facility. Such as:
1. Column protectors
These don't have much science. If inside your warehouse there are forklifts moving around shelves of any kind, you should definitely use column protectors. These “U” -shaped protectors can be mounted to the floor or base of the shelves and will absorb the shock of the forklift before the equipment can damage the shelf.
2. Post protectors
Similar in concept to column protectors, post protectors wrap around building support posts. This way you don't put a roof collapse at risk should a forklift operator accidentally impact a pole.
3. Wire cover
Wire covers are a great product for any pallet rack - they protect workers from falling objects as well as provide better access to position sprinkler systems. Normally one would not consider them a forklift safety accessory, however they can help an operator by providing lines of sight to the upper levels of the pallet rack.
4. Floor taping
In a perfect world, forklifts and pedestrians would never cross. This is not possible, however, what is possible is to mark guide lines on the floor to separate lanes of traffic or security zones in your warehouse
5. Guard rails and bollards
Manufacturing machinery is expensive. It not only represents a huge cost, but also the viability of your business. If you lose a machine to an errant forklift, your warehouse operation could be shut down for days or even weeks. It is possible to protect machinery, office or any sensitive area of your business with protective rails and bollards.
These safety guards are floor mounted and provide the first line of defense for forklift equipment. If your warehouse already has some or all accessories, you are already contributing to the well-being and safety of your employees. If not, we suggest you take a brief tour of your facilities. Identify areas where forklift traffic could pose a risk to the safety of machinery and people