Forklifts are used in various environments. They are exposed to shrink wrap, banding materials and other debris from the manufacturing and warehouse process, which makes housekeeping important to the safe and proper operation of a forklift.
All places of employment shall be kept clean to the extent that the nature of the work allows. If plastic banding material can hold a 3,000 lb load together, imagine what it can do to brake lines, park brake systems, steering systems and axle seals and bearings when tightly wrapped around the wheels and axles of an operating forklift!
Ground clearance of forklifts is generally kept to a minimum for stability concerns. This makes it easy for materials on the floor to get caught in rotating assemblies. The cooling systems are designed to pull air off the floor underneath the forklift, push the air through the radiator and out the back. This creates a “vacuum effect” that sucks debris (i.e. shrink wrap and dust) into the mechanisms and radiator of the forklift. This can cause damage and overheating.
Another regulation, OSHA CR1910.178(q)(9), advises it is illegal to operate an overheating forklift. This statement applies to housekeeping because when the forklift is overheating, it does not meet UL classification. It can become a source of ignition for other materials or a fire hazard itself.
Serious or fatal accidents can also be the result of a forklift damaged by floor debris. It takes only one piece of banding to compromise the brake or steering systems. Operators can lose control of heavy equipment, possibly costing someone their life.
Housekeeping within your warehouse and the removal of floor debris hazards matters to everyone’s safety. Keep safety awareness strong with regular training. Learn more about our available safety training classes, by contacting Thompson & Johnson today or fill out a Customer Request Form above!
If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.