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Andrew Mark | themark

3 Simple Methods To Help Prevent Forklift Accidents

Sep 22nd 2015 at 12:24 AM

Whilst there’s a lot that can go wrong in any workplace, industrial ones are especially dangerous simply due to the machines that are operated in them. The three most common causes of forklift accidents in the workplace include tip overs, irresponsible driving and pedestrian incidents. If each of these factors is addressed, you can greatly reduce the chances of injuries occurring. In this article, we have outlined how these factors can be addressed.


1. Prevention of Tip Overs When a forklift tips over, the first reaction of most operators is to jump off it. Unfortunately, this is actually the leading cause of injury in these sorts of accidents. As these machines can weigh a few tons, if they were to fall onto a worker it can be disastrous. There are a few ways to minimise the chances of tipping over, including:

  • Reducing speed before turning and during the turn;
  • Lowering the forks and tilting them back to keep the load stable;
  • Keeping loads low and ensuring that the mast is tilted back for stability;
  • Never loading the forks beyond the capacity of the forklift;
  • Never moving unstable loads; and
  • Moving oddly shaped loads (that are tall or wide) carefully and slowly.


2. Prevention of Irresponsible Driving Any signs of horseplay should immediately be addressed by supervisors and managers. Operators must understand that by driving forklifts irresponsibly they are not only putting themselves at risk, they are endangering other workers and pedestrians. Even experienced operators can make mistakes, but if they are driving the forklift in an unsafe fashion they should be disciplined (particularly if it’s intentional).

3. Prevention of Pedestrian Incidents It is the responsibility of the operator to avoid pedestrians – just like driving a car, pedestrians always have right of way even if they walk out in front of you. To ensure that pedestrians are avoided, operators should always look in the direction that the forklift is moving. When they reach blind spots or intersections, they should beep the horn to ensure that any pedestrians are aware of their presence.

Remember that other workers may not be paying attention. No matter the actions you have taken, you should always assume that pedestrians are not being observant. If the operator’s visibility is blocked by a high load, they should drive the forklift backwards. If this isn’t possible, you will need a spotter to act as your eyes. Ensure that you move slowly and that any other workers are kept clear of the area.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that accidents can still occur even if strict guidelines are in place (and adhered to). Some things are simply unavoidable and aren’t anyone’s fault. It is important that all forklift operators, however, are aware of the risks and hazards involved. They should know what to do in the case of a tip over, they should know not to muck around, and they should know to keep an eye out for pedestrians.

Liftech Handling offering scissor lift rental in Melbourne that represent the ultimate in safety and reliability.

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