Forklifts are useful tools across industries.
Although they are commonplace, it can be easy to overlook the considerable risk these machines pose when workers regularly operate forklifts or work in the same vicinity as them. Whether one works in a warehouse or a manufacturing plant, it is critical to understand the risk of operating a forklift, as well as how to stay safe.
Forklifts: How dangerous are they?
A forklift accident could happen at any time, especially if workers or their employers do not take the proper precautions. For example, common forklift accidents include:
- Overturn accidents, usually from an unsafe turn
- Struck-by accidents, often caused by speeding or blocked vision
- Falls from forklifts, if workers elevate themselves using the forklift to reach storage
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2017, 9,050 workers suffered serious injuries that led to days away from work as a result of forklift accidents. And the rate of these nonfatal work injuries has remained relatively unchanged over the years, despite increased calls for safety.
How can workers prevent forklift accidents?
There are many steps that Georgia workers can take to stay safe and avoid forklift accidents. However, four things that workers have control over include:
- Training: Workers can ensure they are up to date with forklift safety training and the workplace’s specific policies. They should also know that they can request further training from their employers if necessary.
- Loading: Along the same lines as training, workers should make sure they load pallets and forklifts properly. Unbalanced or precarious loads can cause overturn accidents – and, in turn, serious harm to drivers or any other nearby workers.
- Driving: Workers should make sure they take great care when they are the ones operating a forklift. They should always wear the proper protective equipment, as well as their seat belt. Remember, only workers trained in operating the forklift should drive it.
- Attention: According to recent reports, distractions in the workplace are becoming a serious risk of injury. Whether workers are operating a forklift or working in the warehouse, they should ensure they are not looking down at their phones or distracted from their surroundings. That way, they can better avoid a serious accident.
Safety should always be one of a worker’s primary concerns on the job, especially if they regularly operate heavy machinery. That way, they can protect themselves and their coworkers from suffering serious work injuries.