3 Common Forklift Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Operating a forklift can be a hazardous activity that could lead to life-threatening injuries or even death. 

As an employer, it is your duty to ensure that your forklift operators emphasize safety and dress appropriately for the task.

One wrong move could lead to the heavy machinery crashing down, creating havoc and accidents around them. 

 Here are three common forklift accidents and how to avoid them.

1. Crush-related Accidents 

Crush-related accidents are the most common type of forklift accidents. 

According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the three most common crush-related forklift accidents include: 

Crushed by forklift tipping over 

A forklift can tip over for various causes, the most common of which is overloading

It can result in fatalities or serious injuries when the forklift crushes a worker or passerby. 

Forklift accidents account for 42% of all fatalities yearly. 

To avoid such accidents, you can always do the following: 

  • Inspect the forklift’s tire pressure, brakes, steering, and hydraulic systems. 
  • Verify that the operators know the load limits of each forklift class and model. 
  • Provide extensive specialized training on how to keep a forklift from tipping over. 

Other Crushed-related Forklift Accidents 

Two or more forklifts can collide with each other while loading and unloading, resulting in fatalities or serious injuries. 

These account for 11% of all forklift-related fatalities each year. 

On the other hand, crushing between a forklift and the ground can result in death, accounting for 25% of all forklift fatalities each year. 

Nevertheless, there are safety precautions you can take to avoid or minimize crushing between two forklifts or against a surface.

  1. Provide enough lighting in the workplace to allow operators to see surfaces and avoid running over them. 
  1. Mark hazardous zones clearly in the workplace to alert operators to slow down or avoid particular regions entirely. 
  1. Maintain forklifts regularly and ensure operators understand the vehicles’ parts to avoid malfunctions. 
  1. Offer intensive specialized operator training that educates forklift operators on being aware of other vehicles in the area and avoiding collisions.

2. Pedestrian Accidents 

There is a high rate of fatalities resulting from pedestrian accidents with a forklift. 

OSHA states that these accidents account for around 10% of all fatalities. 

This is very high. 

But considering a forklift is heavy machinery, it can wreak havoc when it collides with a person, such as another employee or a bystander. 

But even though most of these are fatal accidents, you can still train your employees to avoid pedestrian-related accidents, as shown below. 

Prevention Measures  Description
Proper Training  Ensure all forklift operators are properly trained and certified before operating a forklift.
Regular Maintenance Conduct routine maintenance and inspections to ensure forklifts are in good working condition
Safety Equipment  Provide operators with safety gear such as helmets and safety belts to minimize the risk of injury in the event of an accident.
Designated Forklift Areas Clearly mark areas where forklifts should operate and separate them from pedestrian walkways.
Load Limits Post weight limits for different types of loads, and enforce them to prevent overloading and unbalanced loads.

3. Load-related Accidents 

Loads falling off the forklift can cause accidents in the workplace. 

Also, improper loading can lead to a load that is not properly secured, thus leading to unbalanced loads that could cause tipping or dropping of loads. 

To prevent load-related forklift accidents, here are prevention measures you can take in your business. 

They include:

  • Ensure you properly train your employees to load and unload goods safely. 
  • Ensure the operators wear protective clothing equipment like safety glasses, helmets, and gloves. 
  • Always ensure the forklift is regularly maintained. Also, the operators should always inspect the heavy machinery before use. 
  • Mark loading areas and ensure you separate them from where most people can access them.
  • Enforce load limits and ensure they are not exceeded to prevent overloading and unbalanced loads. 
  • Operators should maintain a safe distance to avoid hitting or falling on other objects and people.

Get Specialized Forklift Training for Your Business 

To avoid these accidents and fatalities, your employees need to undergo training. 

It could be a refresher course or training for a different model, but before working on a different forklift class, you should ensure they enroll in a learning course.

For example, a Class 1 operator may struggle to operate a Class VII, necessitating additional training. 

As a result, we develop a personalized training guide that considers the type of forklifts you use and the materials you handle. 

For example, hazardous and fragile products and goods require more thorough training than other items. 

Also, specialist training ensures operators know safety and operational regulations before using a forklift. 

When your workers work in a safe atmosphere and have the tools they need, such as training, they feel valued, respected, and cared for.

Contact us to discuss our personalized B2B forklift training to empower your operators and help you avoid accidents in your workplace.