Forklifts are used in a variety of industries, like transportation, construction and manufacturing. And with thousands of people working on the machines every day across the country, accidents and injuries can happen. In 2020, there were more than 7,000 nonfatal work-related injuries caused by forklifts. In 2021, forklift accidents resulted in 70 deaths in the workplace.
Four common reasons for forklift accidents and fatalities are:
- Tipping over.
- Striking a pedestrian.
- Operator falls.
- High speeds.
Any heavy-duty machinery can be dangerous if it isn’t handled with care. Keep reading for some forklift safety tips and tricks to decrease the risk of an accident occurring.
5 safety tips for forklift operators
Regardless of the type of forklift used at your workplace, the safety guidelines are universal. So no matter what industry you’re in, or the task that you’re utilizing it for, these forklift safety tips should be adhered to by your entire team:
- Carry out a daily inspection — Before a forklift is used for a shift, it needs to undergo a thorough inspection. Ensuring that every part is operating correctly can prevent accidents due to damaged parts, leaks or lack of required fuel. This means checking on parts like the engine oil, fuel, brakes and tires.
- Maintain a safe speed — Keeping a safe speed on a forklift is essential, especially while approaching corners and blind spots. Most forklifts max out at 8 mph, though certain engines may allow for higher speeds. It’s important to account for different factors that affect how fast it should go, such as possible pedestrian traffic, safe stopping distances and the type of surface that is being driven on.
- Use floor markers — Signs and markers are your friend! One of the biggest benefits of floor markers is that it lets other people in the workplace know about where the forklifts operate. This can reduce the risk of an injury caused by accidental foot traffic. Floor markers can also increase efficiency and accuracy.
- Don’t overload — Because overloading is one of the most common causes of forklift incidents, it’s essential that operators keep the maximum load capacity in mind. Overloading the machine can cause the forklift to tip over. Not only can this cause damage to both the machine and the materials being lifted, but, more importantly, it can result in injury or even fatality.
- Keep your distance — Forklift operators familiarizing themselves with the area surrounding the forklift can go a long way in preventing accidents. It helps them keep a safe distance from other obstacles that may get in the way during operation. This includes walls and barriers as well as other equipment and high-traffic areas.
Work-Fit can help you prevent forklift accidents
While forklifts may be highly useful in a workplace, they can be highly dangerous as well. Our team at Work-Fit can help you develop a program that regularly trains workers and familiarizes them with safety protocols. Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees safe and healthy.