When you make your living by operating a forklift and transporting heavy materials across jobsites, safety is of the utmost importance. Not only can what you’re carrying cause you and those around you serious bodily harm, but your equipment can as well. As such, it never hurts to brush up on your basic protective practices and ensure they’re always a part of your daily routine. These are some must-know safety tips for forklift operators and how they can maximize your well-being on the job.

Know What To Do in an Accident

Before you even start driving your forklift, it’s important that you understand what you’ll need to do if you get into an accident. Being ready for this occurrence makes the process much smoother, should the situation arise, and ensures that any injuries get the quickest treatment possible. So you’ll want to know who to contact, what records to keep track of, and whether you’ll need an accident attorney to help file for compensation.

Inspect Equipment Before Use

You should also remember to take the time to inspect your equipment for damage prior to operating it. Like all types of heavy machinery, forklifts can sustain damage that affects how safe they are to drive. Malfunctioning components can make a vehicle unpredictable and increase the amount of danger you’re in when using them. Look over every part carefully and forgo taking out a specific model if it isn’t in quality condition.

Never Exceed Loading Capacity

Then, when you’re loading your forklift up with materials, make sure you never allow the weight to exceed its overall loading capacity. All forklifts come with a designated limit on the amount they can carry at one time. Going above this number throws off the machine’s balance and raises your chances of tipping during turns. As such, taking the time to double-check your vehicle’s handling can go a long way in keeping you safe throughout the day.

Follow Designated Roadways

Another must-know safety tip for forklift operators is to drive your vehicle only on the designated roadways. When working in warehouses and other tightly-packed facilities, forklift paths should be marked with colored lines to indicate the safest course of travel. Sticking to these guides will ensure you have the least amount of contact with pedestrians possible and that you won’t run into roadblocks while in motion. This is the best way to keep yourself out of hazardous situations and reduce potential causalities around you.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.