Forklift safety is an area of safety that is naturally overlooked by employees, but is one of the most crucial safety aspects in warehouses, distribution centers, and all other types of industries. Along with the many tasks that are performed by forklifts, comes the risks of different forms of forklift produced injuries. Fork lifts are very heavy, typically carrying additional weight, and constantly moving through crowded spaces with poor visibility of surrounding areas. It is extremely important to be aware of and enforce forklift safety to help maintain a safe workplace environment on a daily basis.

Forklift Leading Injuries

As mentioned above, there are different types of forklift produced injuries. These injuries are but not limited to:

Forklift drives off loading docks | Load falls onto worker |Blindspots | Forklift to employee collision | Forklift to forklift collisions
 
According to OSHA, 95,000 warehouse employees are injured every year due to forklift accidents. OSHA also reported that about 100 warehouse employees are killed every year and that 50% of serious accidents in distribution centers are forklift related.


Who is Responsible for the Accidents?

Many people would assume that the individual responsible for the accidents would be the forklift driver. That is not always the case. About 25% of forklift accidents are caused by second hand factors. Some examples of second hand factors could be poor lighting, pedestrian traffic control, safety aids located on the equipment, plant noise and inadequate aisle space. These factors are extremely avoidable if taken care of properly and in a timely manner. As an asset protection manager, employee or whichever your title may be, take a good look at your facility and see what environmental factors can be changed to avoid forklift accidents.

 

Pedestrian Safety

Considering all forklift accidents are not caused by the operator, it is important to educate employees on the proper pedestrian safety numerous times throughout their career. Providing proper forklift safety training to pedestrians will help make them aware of the surrounding risks when working in an environment that uses forklifts. As a safety manager, assess hazardous situations involving pedestrians and forklifts and come up with the best solution to keep all employee's safe. A great example of a hazardous situation is a location with corners or turns that appear unexpectedly and will blindside a pedestrian or forklift operator. A suitable solution to this hazard is to find the appropriate spot for a wide view mirror to be placed so that both the pedestrian and forklift operator see oncoming traffic around turns and corners. Supplying your employees with high visibility clothing is another great way to helps drivers and pedestrians better see oncoming traffic from a distance.

 

Where to Go From Here

The best way to avoid forklift accidents is to be aware of your surroundings, educate employees, and practice forklift safety on a day to day basis. Hold your employees and yourself accountable for knowing how to operate around forklift traffic in the safest mannerism. As a safety manager and employee, find the hazards, find the right solution, and make sure the solution happens. Remember, safety first!