Forklifts are handy vehicles in a number of industries. If you work in a warehouse, a distribution center or other industrial setting, you may find yourself around or using one. What many people fail to realize is these vehicles are quite dangerous. You may not realize the number of ways in which you could suffer a serious or fatal injury in a forklift accident.
Each year, approximately 97,000 forklift accidents that result in serious injuries occur in the United States. Around 100 of those accidents involve a fatality. This makes preventive safety measures critical in reducing the potential for accidents.
Strategies to (hopefully) prevent forklift accidents
If you have ever heard the phrase, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," then you understand that taking precautions ahead of time could mean the difference between avoiding an accident and having one. Employing the following proactive measures could increase your safety and decrease your risk of injury:
- Cleanliness is an important component in safety, and not just for preventing forklift accidents. Keeping the aisles clear of trash, products and other obstacles helps keep everyone safe.
- Visibility for workers and forklift drivers helps ensure that everyone can see what they and others are doing at all times. This requires keeping areas well-lit and free from obstructions that could hinder visibility.
- Installing mirrors on corners and making aisles wide enough for workers and forklifts may also limit the potential for accidents. In addition, it may help to put some sort of light on a forklift that workers may easily identify as it approaches.
- Forklifts should not be driven above a certain speed. These vehicles tend to be top heavy and can easily flip.
- Unbalanced or loads that are too heavy could also lead to a forklift rolling over. In addition, the load could be lost and injure someone near it.
- Forklifts also require routine maintenance and sometimes repairs. Keeping up with these requirements helps ensure the vehicle runs properly and will not fail and cause an accident.
- Training is crucial. Even if you won't be driving a forklift, you need to know how to keep yourself safe around one. Drivers should receive the appropriate training so they can safely operate a forklift.
It goes without saying that neither drivers nor workers around a forklift should "play" with the vehicle. Horsing around has its place, but it is absolutely not on or around a forklift. The more attention your employer, your co-workers and you pay attention to creating a safe environment for everyone, the less likely it is that a crash will occur.