3 Common Forklift-Related Injuries and How to Avoid Them

The old saying is true: accidents do happen. Furthermore, the chance for an incident occurring is that much greater when a heavy machine is involved. However, many forklift-related injuries are easily avoidable. There are steps you can take to ensure those that operate these sophisticated apparatus are doing so with this in mind. There are three common forklift-related injuries that make the top of our list. Crushes, falls, and pedestrians being struck are three of the most frequently occurring incidents that are most readily avoidable. Taking the steps to avert these calamities can drive down injury levels, reduce liabilities, and enhance the workplace culture. Here is how you can make those changes, today:

1) Crush Injuries – Unfortunately these events take place as a result of the forklift tipping over and crushing either the operator or wayfarers in direct proximity. Another common contributor to events of this nature is when the forklift falls on top of a driver when they jump out as it tips. A collection of these variables can produce a scenario where lives are at risk and injuries at a maximum. Crush injuries can be easily averted. First, drivers should make sure pedestrians are aware of the forklift as opposed to jumping out of it. Furthermore, operators are advised to hold onto the steering wheel and brace for impact with their feet as an alternative to bailing on the machine when it is unbalanced.

2) Hitting Pedestrians – Though this seems like a rare occurrence due to the obvious measures one can take to avoid this, pedestrians being struck is far more common than one thinks. Almost always the incident is a direct result of distractions. Some fail-proof ways to mitigate these risks include hands-free driving, installing and repairing warning lights and sounds, and making sure all pedestrians are focused on the imminent area of operation. This can be fostered by prohibiting the use of mobile phones and tablets whilst the forklift is in use. Furthermore, checking that signals work prior to use is an easy to way to assure that operators get the attention of when it is at work.

3) Falls – A forklift is not a taxi. However, some employees like to treat them as such. Many forklift falls are the result of personnel hitching a ride. This can be very unsafe, as forks are not a safe place to sit or stand. Furthermore, forklift operators may travel at a speed that can cause falls if the employee is not secure in the vehicle. Therefore, a no tolerance policy should be instituted for anyone that decides to treat these material handling appliances as a livery service. Failure to recognize this is inexcusable. According to Ace Equipment, any qualified forklift operator should know that nobody should ever actually ride on a forklift with a load. Furthermore, these drivers should be acutely aware that when they do, many of them fall and injure themselves.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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