In order to be able to safely use forklift equipment, you must first understand how a forklift operates, the weight that it is designed to handle and how it must be repaired. These are all critical factors to understand how to reduce forklift accidents. Accidents occur when there is a lack of education and proper training. Forklifts are gaining popularity because of their ability to move large quantities of product, effectively and quickly. They are an essential tool for many businesses across Canada. A top priority should be to create a safe workplace by learning how to reduce forklift accidents. There are key issues that must be addressed and every employee must be aware of risk factors at all times.
OSHA statistics indicate that there are roughly 85 forklift fatalities and 34,900 serious injuries each year, with 42 percent of the forklift fatalities from the operator’s being crushed by a tipping vehicle.
Four of the most common reasons why forklift accidents happen are not having proper training, no pedestrian and worker awareness, driving issues, and loading problems. If these four factors are addressed, the risk of workplace injury will decrease substantially. If you would like to set up forklift safety training for your employees, contact Wayco today.
How to Reduce Forklift Accidents
1. Get Proper Training
Accidents often happen in the workplace due to not enough training or not knowing how to maintain the forklift properly with various safety checks that should be done on a daily basis. To determine if a machine needs servicing, a forklift inspection is essential. Regular inspections can help to prevent accidents and injuries. OSHA believes that proper operator forklift training can reduce the risk of accidents by 25-30%. If you need to brush up or you need new forklift training, Wayco is able to offer this service. Safety standards not only help to prevent accidents, but they also keep employees healthy and prevent damage to your equipment and inventory.
2. Promote Pedestrian and Worker Awareness
Pedestrians always have the right-of way, even if they are walking in the path of a forklift. It’s no different than driving a vehicle on a road. Pedestrians cannot always see the lift truck, or hear the forklift which can result in an accident or injuries. The workplace can control these accidents through better traffic management and awareness. Employers can create designated walkways or travel ways, and equip the forklift with a blue safety light that projects on the floor in front or behind the approaching forklift’s path, warning pedestrians of its approach and direction. These are just a few things to prevent accidents. Pedestrian Awareness training covers the basic hazards in the workplace between pedestrians and forklifts.Pedestrians learn to stop, look and listen. You never know when a truck may appear suddenly around a blind corner. It is also important tor engage in eye contact with the forklift driver before crossing the forklift’s path. Close to 20 percent of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian being struck by the forklift. It is crucial for communication and alertness to reduce forklift accidents.
3.Address Driving Issues
The most common accident happens from traveling too fast in the wrong conditions. Even experienced drivers can make mistakes if operating in an unsafe manner. Lift trucks are really heavy and often unstable and the operator driving the forklift has to drive responsibly. They can not only put themselves at risk, but they can jeopardize the safety of other employees and pedestrians. Erratic driving, stunt driving or any horseplay should be reported immediately to a supervisor and the operator should be disciplined. 7% of all forklift accidents are caused by driving off a loading dock and all other accidents are due to traveling at high speeds, improper backing up or parking techniques, turning or braking incorrectly, improper warning, riding with the load elevated and inadequate servicing of the forklift.
To reduce forklift accidents, all potential hazards need to be understood by forklift operators to perform their jobs in a safe and appropriate manner and prevent accidents and injuries. OSHA collects more than $2 million each year from citations issued to organizations that fail to maintain their forklifts or provide adequate training to their employees.
4. Preventing Loading Problems
Each forklift has a manufacturer’s load capacity plate. It determines the maximum weight that a forklift is able to safely carry at a specific load center. To ensure the weight is distributed properly; it is critical that loads are secured and carefully centered on the forks. If not centred the forklift’s capacity will be reduced and it can tip over easily. Actually, 14% of forklift accidents or serious crush injuries are caused by rollover, collision or falling loads if the capacity is exceeded.
To reduce forklift accidents, here are some of the loading problems that should be avoided:
- Poorly stacked or piled items on the pallet.
- Load is too heavy or blocking vision
- Exceeding the recommended load limit of your lift truck.
- Loads not close to the front wheels to keep lift truck stable
- Unstable loads
- Carrying a heavy load with the forks too high
- Raising or lowering the fork when the lift truck is not stopped
- Lifting loads straight up or tilted back slightly
- Forks not spaced properly
It may seem like an easy, simple thing to operate a forklift, but if not done properly, significant injuries and damage can occur. If you are not properly trained, contact us and to help you prevent unnecessary risk.
Load Center is easily calculated by measuring the load to be carried, and dividing by two (providing the load is evenly distributed, and positioned to butt up to the forklift backrest). You will often see a forklift truck’s nominal capacity quoted in a form such as 2,000kg @ 500mm load centre.
“I have used Wayco twice, and both times I experienced excellent customer service . They had the right forklift for my needs at a reasonable price. I will be using their services in the future and recommend you do as well.”
– Gabe Gartner
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