Common Forklift-Related Accidents

Tips to Prevent Common Forklift-Related Accidents

Forklifts, if not handled properly by a trained person can cause a majority of injuries and accidents in several warehouses and industrial facilities across Australia. These mishaps damage the warehouse facility and create safety and health hazards for workers.

Various occupational safety and health organizations across Australia have initiated action to prevent such instances. They have designed campaigns that aim to educate forklift operators, managers and warehouse supervisors on the various risks involved with forklift use and why forklift services should be done regularly.

In this article, we will establish the five crucial practices that every industrial warehouse should implement to avoid any accident around the forklift.

Employee Training: The employees who operate the forklift are the most vulnerable to occupational hazards. Hence, they must be trained in safety measures.

The forklift operator should follow the precautions listed below while operating the forklift:

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times
  • Avoid turning while negotiating inclines, grades or ramps
  • Obey stop signs and speed limits
  • Check for obstructions, dim lighting, spills and blind spots, and any other possible hazard in the operational areas
  • Blow the horn and slow down when at an intersection
  • Ensure that rescue procedures for the operator are in place accident occurs

Safe and Well-Maintained Forklift: An ill-maintained forklift is a dangerous one. Follow the below practices to make sure that the forklift is safe to operate:

  • Ensure regular forklift service to prevent any accidents
  • Buy a forklift that comes with inbuilt safety measures
  • Create a maintenance plan that includes inspections, preventive maintenance, and periodic forklift service
  • Make sure that these activities are done by trained personnel
  • Check if the seat belts are fitted to the driver’s seat
  • Ensure that forklifts do not start until the operator fastens the seatbelt
  • Equip the forklift with grab rails and anti-slip surfaces

Regular Supervision and Monitoring: Employers have the fundamental responsibility of keeping the workplace safe for their employees, and the best way to do that is by active monitoring. You must compulsorily implement the daily inspection of forklifts to ensure that all the components are in good working condition. Any issues detected in the inspection can be rectified by doing forklift repair and services.

A checklist for inspection includes:

  • Fluids and controls
  • Forks
  • Mast
  • Capacity
  • Warning devices
  • Seating
  • Fluids
  • Tyres

Appropriate procedures should be in place if in case the inspection reveals any discrepancies. Furthermore, the warehouse should be monitored as well to ensure that safe practices are followed while working.

Traffic Management: Systematic management of traffic and regular forklift maintenance are important components of safe warehouse operations. It greatly reduces the chances of accidents and collisions caused by the machine.

You must create a separate path for pedestrian movement, which should be clearly defined and marked with bright fluorescent tapes. This way, the pedestrian employees will not walk into the forklift driveway, and hence will avoid a collision with the forklift.

Certain areas which need safe markings are:

  • Pedestrian crossings
  • ‘No go’ areas
  • Loading and unloading areas
  • Manoeuvring spots
  • Parking areas
  • Speed limits
  • Flow of traffic
  • ‘Give way’ spots

These sitemaps should be displayed at the facility, and you can use guard rails and bollards to restrict contact between forklift and pedestrians.

Safe Work Environment: Finally, create a safe and comfortable working environment for all your employees, so that they remain alert on the job. Also do analyse your physical work environment for:

  • Ventilation
  • Lighting
  • Road surfaces
  • Housekeeping

The warehouse should be brightly lit to enhance visibility. Improper lighting creates dark spots which can invite accidents. Roads should be marked and well-defined. Remove the blind corners and make sure that intersections are lit properly.

Use overhead walkways, boom gates, containment fences, and safety barriers and signs, wherever necessary, to keep your employees safe. You can install visibility and safety mirrors at various spots so that forklift operators can detect pedestrian movement around corners.

The forklift is a piece of dangerous equipment when carrying a heavy load. Any unsafe movement or practice at work can result in severe accidents, loss of property and business. So, it is imperative to make the work environment safe and prevent forklift accidents.

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