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10 Essential Forklift Safety Tips During a Home Renovation Project

A recent poll found that more and more people are tackling home renovation projects on their own, though 43% reported that they made some mistakes along the way. 

Whether you’re going full DIY on your home renovation projects or you’re bringing in some hired help, the best way to avoid mistakes is to make sure that you have a solid plan. That includes understanding how to use your tools and equipment safely.

A forklift can make a huge difference when you’re making major changes to your home. However, it is important that you know all of the forklift safety tips before diving in.

Read on for 10 of the most important forklift safety tips that are crucial to your home renovation project.

1. Get Forklift Certified

If you are considering a forklift for your home renovation, make sure that you do it the right way. Undergo training and licensing that meets OSHA’s standards for forklift use before getting behind the wheel. If you don’t want to get certified, yourself, make sure that you hire a contractor who has that certification. 

2. Dress For the Job

What you wear when you’re using a forklift is more important than you may think. Make sure that your clothing isn’t loose so that no fabric gets caught on the equipment. You should also wear a visibility vest, closed-toed work boots, and a hard hat at all times when operating or working around a forklift. 

3. Understand Your Forklift Class

Forklifts are broken up into different classes or types. The forklift class will tell you important information like the weight limit and structure of the forklift, as well as its turning radius, optimal traveling speed, and optimal usage. When you know the class of your forklift, you can get into more class-specific forklift safety tips to ensure smooth operation. 

4. Don’t Obstruct Your Visibility

You want to maintain 360-degree visibility when operating a forklift. In the event that your load is obstructing your forward-facing view, you will need to move the forklift backward to get from one place to another. Always look in the direction that you are moving and keep an eye out for other people on or near your worksite. 

5. Don’t Go Over the Weight Limit

Never haul a load that exceeds the counterweight of your forklift. Make sure you are aware of the forklift’s center of gravity and the suspension system (aka the stability triangle). Make sure that the load remains within that stability triangle at all times to avoid tipping either forward or backward. 

6. Don’t Bring Others Along For the Ride

Some forklifts are equipped with a built-in second seat while others only have a single seat for the driver. Do not operate the forklift while carrying anyone who does not have a designated seat. It is not safe for people to ride on the forklift’s forks, mast, or any other component besides a seat. 

7. Ensure Driver Stability 

Before operating your forklift, make sure that you are in a stable and comfortable position. Your hands or gloves should be dry and your shoes should have a sole with a strong grip to prevent slipping or jostling when the forklift is in motion. You should also be able to reach every gear and control from your seated position with ease. 

8. Move With Ease

Get used to the way that your forklift moves and the controls react before you begin using it on your home renovation. Remain within the designated speed limit, which you will find when you learn the class of your forklift. You should never stop, turn, accelerate, or change directions suddenly when you are moving at a quick pace, or you may lose control of your forklift.

In addition, make sure that your worksite is clear when you are operating your forklift. Ask others who are helping you with the renovation to respect your space when the forklift is in use. Never operate a forklift in close proximity to other machinery and make sure that you give yourself plenty of space to come to a halt when necessary. 

9. Avoid the Hazardous Areas of Your Forklift 

As we mentioned earlier, no one should stand on the fork or other elements of the forklift unless they are stepping into or out of the cab enclosure. You should also stand clear of a forklift that is carrying or holding a load, even if it is not in motion. 

Under no circumstances should someone stand or walk under a suspended load. It is possible for the load to fall off onto the person below. 

10. Inspect Your Forklift Daily

If you are going to be using your forklift for several days, make sure to perform regular inspections. Ideally, you should inspect your forklift between each use. OSHA provides a more detailed checklist for forklift inspections, but here is a basic rundown of what you’re looking for:

  • Functional operating controls, including gears, lights, brakes, steering wheel, and horn
  • Undamaged mast and overhead guard
  • Proper tire and fluid levels
  • Straight, crack-free forks

If you find that any of these conditions are not met, do not operate your forklift without first seeking repairs.

Follow Our Forklift Safety Tips for a Smooth Home Renovation

Taking some of your home renovations into your own hands can give you the freedom and budget to make the changes you’ve always dreamed about. However, you don’t want to end up like the 43% of people who have cut corners and paid the price. If you’re going to use a forklift for your home renovation, make sure to follow our forklift safety tips.

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