Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts, are one of the most obvious dangers in the workplace, carrying a great deal of responsibility for those who operate this heavy machinery. Very recently, there was a building collapse caused by misuse of equipment right here in Philadelphia. With the proper training and certifications, we hope to decrease incidents like this and ensure that every worker makes it home safely every single day.
OSHA violations concerning powered industrial trucks increased over 75% to 3,452 compared to 1,993 from 2012. Forklift overturns are the foremost cause of fatalities among powered industrial vehicles and account for 25% of all forklift related deaths. A common occurrence when a forklift overturns is the driver attempting to jump out of the vehicle. With the proper training employees would know that jumping out of the vehicle can causes it to overturn onto them.
To combat these incidents, OSHA requires the certification of drivers, maintenance of forklifts, and training of employees who come into contact with them. Recertification is required if an operator shows that they lack the knowledge to safely operate their vehicle or, if the operator starts using a new vehicle. Otherwise, recertification takes place every three years.
Training includes formal instruction in either lecture or computer formats, as well as practical training. Practical training includes demonstrations, exercises, and an evaluation of the employee operating the forklift at the workplace in which they will be working.
Some common causes of forklift fatalities include:
- Forklift Overturns
- Worker on Foot Struck by Forklift
- Victim Crushed by Forklift
- Fall From Forklift
It is disturbing to note that each year almost 11% of forklifts will be part of some sort of accident, resulting in nearly 95,000 injuries and 100 deaths. According to OSHA the number one cause of injures is from the vehicle tipping over.
As with all heavy machinery, simple mistakes can lead to serious injuries. For instance, the vehicle can lose control from speeding or sharp turns. Also, driving one side of the wheels on a raised surface can cause the vehicle to lose balance. The second highest injury is employees crushed between the vehicle and surface. 13% of these injuries are due to the operator leaving the vehicle while it continues to be on and running.
To prevent forklift related injuries, training and certification should take place. In addition, employees should maintain a safe distance from the vehicle when possible. Operators should limit the speed of the forklift. Do not load the vehicle in a way that restricts the driver’s view. And employees should not walk near or under raised forks. By creating a designated walkway traffic between forklifts and pedestrians will be separated.
If your organization needs training to create a safer environment, specifically to reduce forklift injuries, call on us. We can visit your facility, access your safety needs, train your employees at this convenience, and help your workers feel as safe and productive as possible.
For more information about making your workplace safer, contact the safety specialists at 800.523.5367 or visit our website.
Have a safe day!