Forklift Safety and Dangers — Forklifts make most of our jobs possible, right? In warehouses, we’re reliant on them to get boxes and other larger objects from Point A to Point B, and often elsewhere, too. Even the best-trained, experienced forklift operators need to maintain constant vigilance while operating their machines – who and what is around them in all directions, and more. Read on for forklift safety tips!
According to OSHA, “the chance of a falling load accident occurring when the truck is a sit-down, counterbalanced rider truck is much greater than when the vehicle is a motorized hand truck because the height that the load can be raised on the sit-down rider truck is much greater than the hand truck.” They also
Four common ways warehouse workers are involved in forklift accidents:
- Forklifts are accidentally driven off loading docks
- Forklifts that fall between docks and an unsecured trailer while a worker in onboard
- Workers and others can be struck by a lift truck
- Forklifts may fall while on elevated pallets.
These accidents are also responsible for serious injury and even death. Forklifts can weigh up to 9,000 pounds and have only front brakes, which can make it harder for them to stop quickly. Training should include getting familiar with the machine, learning about load capacity and stability, and understanding the limitations and risks of the forklift.
OSHA has stated that an average of two workers die each month on the job as a result of being crushed by a forklift. These deaths tend to happen when workers don’t handle equipment correctly. In fact, forklift usage caused 79 work-related deaths and 8,140 nonfatal injuries in 2019 (latest statistics available). Overturns, often caused by improper turning or driving with an elevated load, are the number one cause of fatal forklift accidents.
Forklift maintenance is crucial to safety. If you notice anything wrong, even in the tiniest way, alert your supervisor immediately. To an outsider, what looks like a simple thing can actually be very serious for the operator and those around them.
Forklifts aren’t toys – they are serious machines that contribute greatly to the warehouse workflow. Pay attention during your training and ask questions if you have them. Once you’re a bonafide, certificate-holding forklift driver, always remember to be aware of your surroundings and never stop being mindful of the task at hand: safely operating a forklift.
If you are involved in a forklift accident at work, always follow your workplace safety and emergency guidelines. And remember, A.R.M. trains and certifies our forklift operators!
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