Routinely handling loads of more than 1,000 pounds, forklifts have the potential to cause serious injury or death if an operator is not properly trained or acts in a less than cautious manner. Every year, about 100 deaths and 20,000 serious injuries can be attributed to forklift related incidents.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Surveillance System, vehicular accidents are one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. The top 4 causes of forklift related deaths were the forklift overturning, a worker being struck by the forklift, a person crushed by the forklift and a person falling from the forklift.
Why Is Forklift Safety Important?
With the inherent danger of operating such a vehicle, forklift safety is a priority. Despite all of the rules and regulations, people still are injured or die from forklift accidents. Most of those accidents could have been avoided if the proper attention to all safety precautions was followed.
Unfortunately, people are not perfect. They don’t always pay attention to forklift safety rules. Experienced operators often use the forks and an empty pallet to lift a worker twenty feet up in the air to pull something off of a shelf. More than a few workers have lost their balance and taken a serious or even deadly fall.
There is no excuse for racing forklifts or speeding around the warehouse. Anyone caught violating such basic forklift safety rules should be fired immediately. A forklift driver must undergo special training to be certified as a qualified forklift operator. Training includes formal classroom instruction, practical, hands-on training on the type of fork lift they will be operating and an evaluation of their performance under actual working conditions.
Forklift safety rules require the forklift operator to be at least 18 years of age. You should always be aware of your surroundings. Never drive a forklift with the forks above the operator’s head. Make sure the load you are picking up is well balanced and secured on the pallet. Don’t speed!
There are literally hundreds of rules to help keep fork lift operation safe. Common sense is really the most important. Do not attempt to pick up loads heavier than the forklift is rated to lift. This can cause the forklift to tip over. Do not lift people. Make sure that there is no gap between an empty truck and the loading platform.
Always keep the vehicle under tight control. Lower the forks when empty. Only use a fork lift for approved situations and do not add non-conforming parts or attachments that can throw the forklift out of balance.
Certified operators should know all the safety precautions and should always operate their forklift with those precautions in mind.