It’s been estimated that thousands of people are injured by forklifts every year. Many of these injuries can be chalked up to negligence on the part of the forklift operator, which means they can be prevented. Learning how to avoid these injuries is part of any forklift operator’s training, but even the most competent forklift operator can get sloppy and make mistakes. With that being said, here are five of the most common forklift-related injuries and how they can be avoided.
It’s frighteningly easy to tip a forklift; simply lifting a load that is too heavy or loading something improperly is sometimes enough to cause it to happen. Most of the time, this leads to an embarrassing incident and some property damage, but the forklift operator or a pedestrian can be caught under the load and crushed.
In many cases, the operator is crushed by a tipping forklift because he or she attempts to jump out as it is tipping only to find that they cannot get clear in time. Instead of trying to jump to safety, the operator should hold onto the forklift’s steering wheel, brace for impact with their feet and lean their head and body away from the ground.
Even when a pedestrian isn’t in danger of being crushed, they can still be seriously injured if they are hit by a forklift as it is driving. This is usually caused by an operator with poor visibility, usually due to having to carry a large load. Forklift operators should avoid carrying any load in a way that obstructs their vision, even if it means raising or lowering the load to keep a clear line of sight.
Falling from a Forklift
Any qualified forklift operator should know that nobody should ever actually ride on a forklift with a load, yet people do it all the time. Not surprisingly, many of these people fall from forklifts and injure themselves.
No matter how unbalanced a load may be or how sturdy a forklift may appear, people should never ride a forklift. Any loads that do appear unbalanced should be adjusted before they are carried on a forklift.
Being Struck by Falling Objects
Because of the aforementioned unbalanced loads, objects can fall from forklifts and strike pedestrians fairly easily. To prevent this from happening, any load that is carried by a forklift should be checked and double-checked to make sure that it is safely balanced. Even when a load appears safe, pedestrians should keep their distance from the forklift when it’s in motion.
Hitting Debris While Driving
Since it can be difficult to see where one is going on a forklift, hitting debris and other obstructions sometimes happens. This is sometimes enough to tip a forklift and cause injury. Any area where a forklift may be in operation should be kept clear of any possible obstacles. This is especially important in narrow corridors where a forklift may not be able to steer or corner properly. This also means that no forklift should be taken anywhere where it is not supposed to go.