Forklifts are useful tools, but when improperly used, they can be extremely dangerous. A cursory internet search for workplace injuries involving forklifts reveals that there are nearly 35,000 forklift injuries each year in the United States, with about 85 of those ending in fatality. This tragic statistic is all the more maddening because using forklifts safely is something that is not hard to do. The proper training, adherence to basic safety rules, and a little bit of caution: these are the secrets to staying safe while working with forklifts.
- What are the top causes of forklift accidents? The number one cause of forklift-related fatality is a forklift that overturns. Traumatic, sometimes fatal injuries also commonly occur because a forklift strikes someone on foot, someone is crushed by a forklift, or an operator falls from a forklift.
- What are the best practices for keeping forklift operators safe? First, ensure that your forklifts are only operated by people over the age of 18. Emphasize to your employees the importance of using forklifts correctly, with no horseplay, distraction, or inattention to what they’re doing.
- Train new employees thoroughly, using a combination of formal and practical instruction, and evaluating them through tests. Require operators to repeat this training periodically.
- Use forklifts properly, training operators to adhere to weight limitations and maintain safe speeds.
- Keep pedestrians and forklifts separate, and train employees in your warehouse to be aware of the audible signals and backup buzzers meant to warn them of a forklift’s approach.
- Maintain a safe environment in your warehouse, with proper lighting and surfaces that are clear of debris.
- How does the equipment itself figure in? Using old or worn forklifts can dramatically increase the risk of forklift-related injuries. Worn tires, improperly charged batteries, and forklifts in poor condition can all create unnecessary risk for operators. Proper maintenance can eliminate some of these issues, but ultimately, it’s important to know when to replace your equipment.
If it’s time to replace your old forklifts, it’s time to contact Atlas Toyota. Started as a way to improve the pallet industry, Atlas Toyota has been internationally recognized and consistently ranked as one of the top privately held companies in Illinois for more than 60 years. With over 115 certified technicians with an average of 17 years’ experience working 24/7 to make sure every piece of equipment in our hands is working properly, and four full-time Service Writers to make sure customers’ needs are met, we provide excellent service to everyone who walks through our doors. In addition, we have a full-time trainer on staff, providing both safety and technical classes that allow customers to become certified forklift operators.