➢ The principal causes of accidents by forklifts come under three categories:
• Mechanical design
• Work environment
• User error
Research shows that untrained personnel is responsible for a considerable portion of forklift accidents. Proper training could have avoided more than 70% of forklift accidents, as indicated by OSHA.
➢ We will discuss some measures to reduce accidents by forklift operations:
1. Forklift certification is a must
Only those who have OSHA certification or are licensed to operate forklifts should be responsible for using them. Employers should evaluate employee performance once every three years and supplement training with lectures, demonstrations, and videos.
2. Proper attire is a must
Forklift operators should dress in proper safety attire, including safety shoes, hard hats, and a high-visibility jacket. They should not wear loose clothing to prevent it from getting caught in a forklift and resulting in accidents.
3. Comprehensive knowledge about the forklift class you are operating
There must be complete knowledge about different forklift types since their unique weight limit, traveling speed, turning radius, and usage must be total. It will help to follow the best safety protocols.
4. Daily inspection of equipment
One should check mast and overhead guards for damage and operating controls like brakes, lights horns, and steering wheel.One should check for fluid levels and tire pressures.Similarly, one should perform leak checks of water, oil, and radiator daily. It is essential to follow all worksite rules, regulations and signs.
5. One should maintain 360-degree visibility
Maintaining eye contact with pedestrians and other workers is a must. One should use rear-view mirrors to look in the direction of travel to enhance visibility. Headlights should be used at night time, outdoors, or where additional lighting is needed.
6. A floor marking system increases safety
A floor marking system can increase worker safety. One should use yellow for areas prone to falling and stumbling. Red for fire hazards, fire equipment, and emergency switches. One can find signs to keep pedestrians away from the path of forklifts.
7. Forklift capacity is an essential factor
It is significant to consider the power of forklifts or any attachments. If a forklift is overloaded, the rear wheels rise off the ground, and the whole machine can fall over. As a result, injury can happen to personnel and damage to equipment.
8. Forklifts should not carry extra people
Forklifts are designed for loads, not transporting people. If you need to lift a person, one should use a secure work platform or cage. Other workers should not be allowed to sit on the forklift.
9. The stability of the forklift is an important consideration
A forklift carries the load at its center of gravity. Design is such that it prevents from tipping over. It is known as a three-point suspension system, also known as the stability triangle. The heavier the load, the further it is from the center of gravity, and the more accident-prone the forklift becomes.
10. Speed should be within limits
It is very significant to drive the forklift within appropriate speed limits. The operator should not stop, turn, change directions suddenly or move briskly while taking sharp turns. These actions can result in the forklift tipping over.