Learn New Things and Change Your View: Heavy Construction Equipment

Two safety tips for those who will be renting a forklift for the first time

by Nisanur Kronenberg

If you have ordered a forklift from a forklift hire business for the very first time, here are some safety tips that you may want to keep in mind when you begin to use this piece of equipment for your building project.

Never let unlicensed people use the forklift's control panel

Most people understand that it is important not to allow unlicensed individuals who have not undergone any forklift training to drive this equipment. However, what you may not know is that it is also not advisable to allow untrained people to sit in the forklift and try to use the equipment's control panel.

A labourer might try to do this if, for example, the forklift operator is taking their lunch break and the labourer wants to lower the equipment forks in order to access the materials that are sitting on top of them. This could be highly dangerous, as this labourer will not have a full understanding of how to safely use the forklift's controls. In this situation, they could, for instance, accidentally drop the forks too quickly and cause the materials on top of them to fall off.

In addition to nearby workers potentially being struck by these falling materials, this could also result in the items themselves being broken by the fall.

Supervise the movement of the forklift from the ground when the equipment is being used in hazardous areas

When the forklift is being used on flat, straight pathways, there is no need for you to monitor the movement of the equipment, as an accident is unlikely to occur in these circumstances.

However, if the forklift needs to be used in a hazardous area (for example, next to the edge of an excavated trench, on a slope or near a power line) then you should supervise the operation from the ground. The reason for this is that the person in the cab of a forklift can sometimes find it hard to get a clear view of the areas to the rear and the sides of the equipment.

As such, by supervising their movements from the ground, you can serve as an extra pair of eyes, and thus help the operator to avoid making risky manoeuvres. You will, for example, be able to tell them (using your voice or hand signals) if they start unintentionally reversing into a utility line or towards the edge of an excavated trench.