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Fork Lift Truck – Manual Handling Equipment (Flt) Tool Box Talk

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Fork Lift Truck – Manual Handling Equipment (Flt)

Introduction: In todays work world, we all benefit from some type of material handling equipment. Whether the equipment is just a paper tray for a printer or a log loader for a sawmill, the concept of moving materials in the easiest manner possible is still the same.
Most warehouse type operations use lift trucks for their operations. This type of equipment, while very productive, is also very dangerous in the wrong hands. Operators must be trained on the particular piece of equipment they will be operating. Lift trucks vary in size, capacity, and operation. These particulars must be addressed in training sessions before operators are permitted to use the equipment.

Main points:
Issues needing to be addressed in terms of hazards and safety procedures include:
• Operation of all controls for the lift truck.
• Capabilities of the lift truck. (weights, fork shifting, etc.) This can be found on the placard in the cab and/or in the operations manual.
• Fuelling / battery recharging procedures.
• Visibility barriers and back-up alarms.
• Operations in tight aisles, loading ramps, high picks, and on inclines.
• Driving procedures. Corners, carrying loads, material placement, lift truck speed.
These topics, as well as others, should be covered in a comprehensive training program. The program should also include a written outline of training topics, a self test or evaluation for the driver, a practical field test (commonly called a lift truck rodeo), and a signed certificate of completion for the course.

Follow up training is also important for ensuring that employees thoroughly understand the machines they operate – and remember to do what they understand.

Pre-Use Inspection
Always follow the pre-use instructions in the manufacturer’s manual and do not use the forklift if any of the following conditions exist:
• Mast has broken or cracked weld-points.
• Roller tracks are not greased or the chains are not free to travel.
• Forks are unequally spaced or cracks exist along the blade or at the heels.
• Hydraulic fluid levels are low.
• Hydraulic lines and fittings have excessive wear or are crimped.
• Fluid is leaking from the lift or the tilt cylinders.
• The hardware on the cylinder is loose.
• The tires are excessively worn or split, or have missing tire material.
• Inflatable tires are not filled to the operating pressure indicated on the tire.
• The batteries have cracks or holes, uncapped cells, frayed cables, broken cable insulation, loose connections or clogged vent caps.

Starting the Forklift
Apply the foot brake and shift gears to neutral before turning the key.

Picking up a Load
1. “Square up” on the centre of the load and approach it straight on with the forks in the travel position.
2. Stop when the tips of your forks are about a foot from the load.
3. Level the forks and slowly drive forward until the load is resting against the backrest of the mast.
4. Lift the load high enough to clear objects underneath it.
5. Back up about one foot, then slowly and evenly tilt the mast backwards to stabilize the load

Putting the Load Down
1. “Square up” and stop about one foot from the desired location.
2. Level the forks and drive to the loading spot.
3. Slowly lower the load to the floor.
4. Tilt the forks slightly forward so that you do not hook the load.
5. When the path behind you is clear of obstructions, back straight out until the forks have cleared the pallet.

Stacking One Load on Top of the Other
1. Stop about one foot away from the loading area and lift the mast high enough to clear the top of the stack.
2. Slowly move forward until the load is squarely over the top of the stack.
3. Level the forks and lower the mast until the load is no longer supported by the forks.
4. Look over both shoulders for obstructions and back straight out if the path is clear.

General Forklift Safety Guidelines
• Do not use bare forks as a man-lift platform.
• Approach railroad tracks at a 45º angle when driving the forklift.
• Steer the forklift wide when making turns.
• Sound the forklift horn when approaching blind corners, doorways or aisles to alert other operators and pedestrians.

• Do not exceed the lift capacity of the forklift and read the lift capacity plate on the forklift if you are unsure.
• Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines concerning changes in the lift capacity before adding an attachment to a forklift.
• Lift the load an inch or two to test for stability; if the rear wheels are not in firm contact with the floor, take a lighter load or use a forklift that has a higher lift capacity.
• Do not raise or lower a load while you are moving. Always wait until you are in the loading area and have stopped before raising or lowering the load.
• After picking up a load, adjust the forks so that the load is tilted slightly backward for added stability.
• Raise the forks an additional two inches to avoid hitting or scraping the ramp surface as you approach the ramp.
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