Forklift Safety: Avoid Accidents and Mishaps

Forklifts are one of the most useful machines in the workplace, yet accidents are not uncommon.  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), forklift accidents account for 85 deaths each year. With proper safety procedures, 70% of these accidents can be prevented. Here are five ways of to avoid forklift accidents.

1. Train Employees

Training is the first step to a safe workplace. When training is neglected and insufficient, accidents are waiting to happen. OSHA requires every forklift operator to be trained, certified, and periodically evaluated. To create an even safer environment, implement training for all employees so everyone is aware of the hazards.

2. Keep Pedestrians Out of the Way

Pedestrians are involved in 26% of forklift accidents. They are not trained to be aware of the threats of being struck, run over, and hit by items falling off the forklift, therefore are more at risk. To prevent this, mark forklift zones with signs, lights, and floor taping. Designate pedestrian walkways and use a railing to keep the two from crossing paths.

3. Prevent Forklift Overturns

Forklift overturns are one of the leading causes of injuries. When a truck is tipping, many drivers’ first instinct is to jump. However, this is the worst thing to do. Stay in the seat, hold on tight, brace yourself, and lean in the opposite direction of the overturn. To prevent tip-overs in general, reduce speed when turning, keep loads secured and balanced, and never carry a load that’s heavier than the forklift’s capacity.

4. Organize Workplace

The condition of the workplace is crucial to avoid forklift mishaps. Aisles cluttered with products and trash can force drivers to swerve. Make sure all lanes and loading docks are clear and that the building is properly lit to ensure visibility.

5. Discipline Distracted Operators

Operators should always be focused on the task at hand. Some get too comfortable and begin driving irresponsibly. When speeding, reaction time is shortened, putting employees and pedestrians at risk. OSHA recommends operators to drive under 5 mph. Any form of irresponsibility and horseplay should be disciplined immediately.