Forklift Accidents – A Guide to Safe Operations

6 March 2024

Forklifts play a pivotal role in various industries, facilitating material handling and streamlining operations. However, with their substantial weight and potential hazards, forklift safety remains a critical concern. In this short guide, we’ll delve into the facts, statistics, and essential tips to ensure forklift safety based on Jason Hessom’s original article.

Why is Forklift Safety Important?

Forklift trucks, weighing multiple tons, demand meticulous safety measures. Proper education and certification are imperative, safeguarding both employees and businesses. Forklifts are often used in confined spaces, necessitating precise maneuvering to prevent accidents like collisions with shelving units or falling inventory, which can lead to significant injuries and financial losses.

What are Common Forklift Accidents?

The primary accidents involve overturning or falling loads, posing risks not only to operators but also bystanders. These incidents underscore the need for improved training to mitigate such risks effectively.

Approximately 1% of forklift accidents result in fatalities, with 1 in 6 workplace deaths attributed to forklift incidents. Lack of adequate training and rushed operations often contribute to these fatalities.

Broken bones, crushed limbs, and traumatic injuries are prevalent, impacting employees’ ability to work and resulting in substantial financial liabilities for employers.

Tipping over remains the leading cause of forklift fatalities, endangering operators, pedestrians, and nearby workers due to the vehicle’s considerable weight and potential instability.

What Causes Forklift Accidents?

Poor operating practices, mechanical failures, and inadequate training are major contributors to forklift accidents. Proper training is crucial to ensuring operators’ competence in identifying and addressing potential hazards.

Main Causes of Forklift Injuries according to the OSHA fall into these four categories:

    • Untrained operators
    • Mechanical issues
    • Excessive speed
    • Poor floor design

Safety Tips on Forklift Operations

Before operating a forklift, operators must conduct thorough checks, including ensuring the vehicle’s functionality and appropriate safety measures such as overhead guards.

Forklifts find applications across diverse industries, including manufacturing, warehousing, retail, construction, and more. Employers must select the right equipment for their specific needs to ensure safety and compliance with regulations.

By all means potentials hazards should be minimized as much as possible. Common hazards include unbalanced loads, vehicle tipping, insufficient head protection, and collisions with racking or pedestrians. Adequate training and adherence to safety protocols are paramount to mitigating these risks.

Educational materials should emphasize safety principles, such as load stability, spatial awareness, and equipment inspection, to minimize accidents and ensure workplace safety.