Forklifts are responsible for thousands of accidents each year. The OSHA estimates that an American worker is killed in a forklift accident every three days. It’s no secret that forklifts are dangerous, and they can cause a plethora of accidents. They hit pedestrians, overturn, collide with other objects, and have issues with loading dock separation.
However, forklifts are also useful machinery for the manufacturing, construction, retail, and mining industries. There needs to be more safety training for forklift operators to reduce the number of accidents. If you have been injured recently, seek professional advice and estimate the potential value of your injury claim.
Here are the most common forklift accidents and how they could be avoided.
Hitting a pedestrian
Forklifts are regularly operated near pedestrians and ground workers. A whopping 36% of forklift-related deaths involve pedestrians in the US. The pedestrian was struck by a forklift in 20% of the cases and crushed in 16%.
There should be separate paths for forklifts with physical barriers on either side. Lines on the floor may guide the forklift operator, but they do not stop them from accidentally hitting a pedestrian. A physical barrier would keep pedestrians away from forklift operations and drastically reduce the number of injuries. Most forklift-pedestrian accidents are down to low visibility. The operator may not see a pedestrian walk in front of the forklift. All ground workers should wear high-visibility clothing so forklift operators can identify them. Drivers should also have lights and horns on the trucks to signal their presence to pedestrians.
Forklift overturns are the number one cause of fatal accidents involving lift trucks. The forklift tips over, rolls, and injures the operator and those around them. The vehicle is more likely to overturn when carrying an elevated load or moving at high speed. The operator may stop too quickly or drive on a wet surface.
Operators need to be thoroughly trained on how to drive a forklift safely. Cautious driving is the best way to mitigate the risk of overturning. Drivers need to follow speed guidelines and avoid stopping or starting too suddenly. Furthermore, the forklift should not be overloaded to the point it tips forward. The load should only be raised slightly off the ground.
Forklifts can also collide with walls and other machines. It’s easy to collide with another machine on crowded worksites. There are many moving parts on a construction site, and almost all of them come with risks. One area could be demolished while another is being rebuilt. Forklift operators need to focus on their vehicles and what’s happening close to them. They should not be distracted by everything else on site. Operators must do a 360-degree visual check before setting off.
Forklifts can be dangerous machines that must be operated with the utmost caution.