Each year in American workplaces, tens of thousands of forklift related injuries occur, most of which are preventable. Employees might be injured when a lift falls between loading docks and an unsecured trailer, and others are injured or even killed when forklifts are driven off loading docks accidentally.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Agency, most employee injuries are the result of unsafe operating procedures, lack of training, and the failure to enforce safety rules. Other factors contributing to forklift-related injuries include production factors such as speed or stress, improper assignment of forklifts and operators, and poor maintenance.
Common mistakes that cause forklift accidents include improper backing techniques, turning, and failure to warn others about forklift usage nearby.
Proper training and monitoring are crucial factors that help to avoid forklift accidents and injuries. Employees need to be trained in proper operational procedures and safety regulations. Furthermore, equipment requires continuous inspection and maintenance.
No one should be asked to operate a forklift without receiving adequate training under close supervision. Such training should include written operating procedures and safety regulations, as well as the inspection guidelines and maintenance schedule for the machinery.
An operator should inspect the equipment every day before using the forklift, ensuring that the brakes and steering are in good working order. They should also check fluid levels and visually inspect for leaks beneath the equipment.
Forklift operating procedures should be written clearly and monitored. They should be posted where everyone can see them and include the obvious; everything from not giving rides to the need for good communication among those in the work area when the equipment is in use.
The final step in ensuring safe forklift operations is to make sure all machinery is maintained properly. If a forklift begins to show its age, it should be replaced. No employee should be forced to use equipment that is clearly unsafe or has not been maintained properly.
It’s good to drive safely, even on your forklift.