10 Simple Tips for Safe Propane Forklift Operation
By Jeremy Wishart
For employees throughout the material handling industry, safety is paramount. Working with and around heavy machinery on the job, industry employees come face to face with potentially daily hazards. To keep employees safe and ultimately keep material moving, it is critical that assembly operators follow safety procedures.
Here are 10 Simple Tips to Help Safe Safe Forklift Operation
1. Inspection and maintenance of assemblies before use.
Operators must complete a routine equipment check before driving them. Notify management of any damage or problem. For facilities using propane gas forklifts, the propane supplier will inspect the cylinders each time they are changed and remove the affected cylinders from service. Cylinders that indicate signs of wear or leakage should not be used and may require replacement even before the cylinder requalification date.o.
2. Buckle up .
It is important for operators to fasten their seat belts while in a seated forklift, as rollovers are the leading cause of forklift-related accidents and deaths. Belt buckling can prevent operators from being crushed by a machine's overhead guard or roll cage.
3. Wear appropriate personal protective clothing.
When working near forklifts, the use of helmets, protective footwear and high visibility clothing is recommended.
4. Stop the forklift before raising or lowering the forks.
Ensuring the forklift stops before moving the forks can greatly reduce the risk of tipping the machine or dropping the load.
5. Keep loads within weight capacity.
By exceeding the weight capacity of a forklift, employees can increase the risk of tipping the machine by unbalancing the forklift's center of gravity.
6. Slow down and sound your horn in situations where vision is obstructed.
Operators should slow down and exercise caution on slopes or ramps. Operators should use the horn to alert pedestrians or other forklift operators of their location to avoid unnecessary collisions. Take corners and turn slowly to minimize the risk of tipping over. Changes of direction or any stops should also be done gradually and slowly.
7. Make sure the pressure relief valve on the propane cylinder is secure and points away from the locating pin. .
Verify that the pressure relief valve fitting is approximately 180 degrees from the forklift locating pin.
8. Set the parking brake, lower the forks, and place the controls in neutral when finished.
By parking the machine safely, employees reduce the risk of an unintended accident when a forklift is left unattended. If parked on a slope, operators can still control the mounting with wheel blocks.
9. Propane cylinders should be stored in a secure cage or rack.
Propane forklift cylinders are stored with pressure relief valves on top, and operators must use scale shifting techniques when removing scales from storage and placing them on the machine. The facility service provider can help determine the best location for the storage rack or cage, which is typically away from exits, stairs, entrances, and high traffic.
10. When not in use, close the service valves on the propane cylinders.
By doing so, operators help prevent accidental fuel loss and possible injury around internal combustion engines.
By following forklift safety procedures while behind the wheel, operators can protect themselves and their co-workers, avoid lost-time accidents, and keep business moving. You can learn more about using propane loads and fork safety at Propane.com/SafetyFirst.
Jeremy Wishart is director of off-road business development for the Propane Research and Education Council.