Beware fatigue in forklift operators

Safely operating a forklift requires a heightened state of awareness; awareness of exactly what you are doing, what is going on around you, where you are going, what type of load you are carrying, what obstacles may be in the way, how much clearance you have and lots more.

Usually thought of simply as “tiredness,” fatigue may be more aptly described as a depletion of body energy reserves, leading to below-par performance.  Because fatigue lowers your efficiency and alertness as an operator, you should recognize the signs, causes and prevention.

Airline pilots are told to stay on the ground when suffering from acute or chronic fatigue and forklift operators would be well advised to stay off their forklifts.

Whose decision is that?  At the end of the day the forklift operator is directly responsible for the safe operation of the forklift at all times and a responsible operator should be able to make that decision for themselves.  However, fatigue can also lead to confusion and bad decision making so employers and supervisors must keep an eye out for overly tired operators – long shifts, second jobs, new babies can all lead to a tired operator.  And a tired operator is more likely to make a mistake.