Back to basics: Forklift safety — Forklifts are critical equipment used in warehousing and storage facilities. Imagine attempting your warehouse duties without a working forklift – almost impossible! Like other equipment we use in warehousing, forklifts can pose life-threatening risks to workers and critical property damage if not operated safely.
Some statistics about forklift accidents
- They cause around 85 deaths each year, causing about 35,000 serious injuries and 62,000 non-serious injuries annually.
- Forklifts account for about 25% of construction accidents and 11% of all fatal job-related injuries.
- The most common forklift accidents involve collisions with pedestrians, objects, or other vehicles; overturning or falling from the truck, or dropping or falling loads.
- Poor training, poor judgment, distraction, being tired, and recklessness are most the common causes of forklift accidents.
- Tipping vehicles account for 42% of all forklift deaths by crushing most forklift deaths.
- The most common forklift injuries affect, in this order:
- lower limbs
- trunk, the head
- upper limbs.
- The average cost of a forklift accident is about $38,000 in direct costs and $150,000 in indirect costs, that is, those costs not covered by insurance or workers’ compensation, but that still affect the business negatively due to the accident.
Forklift safety tips
- Inspect the forklift before each use and report any defects or break-downs.
- Follow the machine’s instructions and load weight limits.
- Wear a seat belt and keep your body inside the forklift.
- Drive at a safe speed and avoid sudden stops or turns.
- Keep a clear view of the path and the load at all times.
- Use horns, lights, and signals to warn others of your presence and intentions.
- Do not carry passengers or allow anyone to stand or walk under a raised load.
- Park the forklift with the forks lowered and the power turned off.
Final thoughts – Back to basics: Forklift safety
Forklift accidents are a serious and common problem in many types of workplaces that use powered industrial trucks. Therefore, it’s easy to see that forklift safety is important and should not be taken lightly.
Forklift operators and employers should follow the OSHA rules and regulations for forklifts and use proper training, maintenance, and precautions to prevent forklift accidents. Therefore, pay attention during your forklift training, ask questions if you feel unsure, and always be safe out there!
Learn more about forklift safety from OSHA’s page Powered Industrial Trucks.
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