Three Common Forklift Accidents and How to Prevent them

Published on
January 30, 2024

Whether in a warehouse, plant, construction site, or elsewhere, forklifts are undoubtedly among the most commonly used pieces of equipment. These powerful industrial trucks are equipped to bear heavy loads for purposes of lifting and transportation. Despite the multi-functionality of forklifts, like any other heavy industrial vehicles, they pose a threat to the safety of the employees and are risky by nature. 

The OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) stipulates that forklift accidents cause roughly 34,900 serious injuries and 85 fatal accidents every year. This alarming situation demands the implementation of proper measures for overall forklift safety (including forklift driving safety) to avoid such grievances. 

This blog will explore the three most common forklift accidents that plague worksites and discuss certain tips on how to avoid them. 

  1. Forklift Overturns: Tipovers and Rollovers

Forklift overturns are one of the most common forklift accidents that result in fatalities. There are two possible ways in which a forklift can fall over. A Rollover is when a forklift falls onto its sides whereas a tip-over involves the front of the forklift tipping forward. In the event of an overturn, the forklift operators are most susceptible to danger whereby they may be thrown off the forklift and crushed under it. People adjacent to the forklifts are also in harm’s way as they too may sustain injuries either by this industrial truck or the heavy load that falls off it. A forklift tips over or rolls over due to many reasons such as overspeeding, driving over uneven or inclined surfaces, harsh turnings, exceeding the load limit, etc. 

Tips to prevent Forklift Overturns 

  • Train the forklift operators to ensure they have the proper understanding of the basic lift-truck physics and proper forklift driving safety
  • Follow the standard speed limit 
  • Round corners carefully at a decreased speed 
  • Maintain the forklift’s capacity and ensure that the suggested weight is not exceeded 
  • Operate on a smooth surface as much as possible
  • Invest in technology i.e. forklift safety solutions 
  • Position the load properly with heavier items on the bottom and as low to the ground as possible 

  1. Pedestrian Accidents 

A pedestrian entails anybody who frequently works in the vicinity of forklifts. They too become quite vulnerable to forklift accidents. Hitting or running over a pedestrian is another common forklift accident. Pedestrians may also be injured due to heavy objects falling off a forklift. Most often, the blame lies on both the forklift operators and the pedestrians. If proper forklift driving safety measures are adhered to, chances of pedestrian injuries and fatalities are drastically reduced. This type of forklift accident usually occurs because of the failure of the forklift operators and pedestrians to see each other, lack of visibility, and proper communication of travel intentions. Operator inattention and lack of clear warning signs are other contributing factors.

Pedestrian Accidents - Forklift Safety Solution
Pedestrian Accidents

Tips to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents - 

  • Pedestrians should always ensure that they are at a safe distance from operating forklifts 
  • Ensure proper visibility by wearing proper uniforms such as neon jackets
  • Use floor tape to indicate forklift zones and different colored lights or barriers to separate forklift traffic from pedestrian walkaways
  • Install  forklift safety solutions such as sensors or alarms to alert operators of nearby pedestrians
  • Train pedestrians and forklift operators to properly avoid such hazardous situations

  1. Falling Loads 

A falling load is one that slides, tips, or falls off the forks of a forklift. This occurrence means that the materials can no longer be safely transported. Reasons attributed to this kind of accident include placing the loads off-center or loose and moving them unsecured. Falling loads may also be the result of a forklift tipping or falling over. This type of accident creates a hazardous atmosphere for operators and pedestrians alike. No load backrest or deformed/bent forks can also cause loads to fall off. Operators may hasten their pace as they strive to complete the tasks as soon as possible but complying with mandated forklift driving safety standards is a must to ensure the safety of everybody working near a forklift. Incorporating Forklift Safety Solutions bears good results in preventing such accidents.

Falling Loads - Forklift Safety Solution
Falling Loads

Tips to Prevent Falling Loads - 

  • Always secure the load before transporting it so that they remain on the fork or pallet
  • Avoid carrying loose or damaged materials
  • Ensure that the load is centered. If this cannot be achieved, position the heaviest load near the front wheels of the forklift
  • Exercise care while tilting the mast as sudden or jerky movements may cause materials to come loose or fall
  • Make use of a load backrest to prevent the load from falling into the operator’s compartment
  • Utilize technology-based forklift safety solutions to ensure that pre-trip inspection is conducted before every shift and check the forklift’s state to ensure whether it is in optimum condition.

In conclusion, forklift accidents have, are without a doubt, an ongoing concern for ages. But, even though accidents are bound to happen if there is a forklift involved if proper forklift safety measures are followed, it will reduce the overall forklift accident rate drastically. 

SafetyConnect to the Rescue

SafetyConnect’s Forklift Safety Solution analyzes the driving behaviours of operators to understand unsafe driving practices such as overspeeding and harsh cornering. With this solution by your side, enhance your forklift operations and ensure forklift driving safety. 

To create safer aisles and curb forklift accidents, schedule a demo here. 

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