14Jun 2016

Get a Handle on Forklift Safety

Keep Your Lift from Tipping Over

When it comes to your forklift toppling over, your first instinct could be your last.

Forklift Safety

Buckle up – Be Safe

One of the deadliest risks of driving a forklift is the chance of it falling over, but the instinct to jump from the vehicle if it tips is a recipe for tragedy. Understanding how to fall with a forklift is one of the most important things to know if your job involves operating one.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, there are approximately 35,000 serious injuries and 62,000 non-serious injuries that involve forklifts every year. In fact, OSHA estimates 11 percent of all forklifts are involved in accidents each year.

Some are fatal, and of those accidents, OSHA categorized 42% as crushing a worker when the forklift tipped over. That’s because operators who try to jump can become pinned beneath them with deadly results.

If your forklift starts to tip over, hang on tight to the steering wheel and lean away from ground. Your seatbelt—the one you securely fastened when you sat inside the forklift—should prevent you from being ejected from your seat.

Some basic precautions can prevent your forklift from tipping over.

Know your lift

Did you check if the manufacturer recommends special attachments for picking up barrels, carpets, or people? How much weight can your lift safely carry at the maximum height? Did you take training to use the particular forklift you need to? Do you know how to operate the lift on an incline?

  • If you use an attachment the manufacturer didn’t approve for the model of forklift you use, it could tip over.
  • If you carry weight at a height not recommended, the forklift could tip over.
  • If you try to drive a forklift you didn’t formally train for, you could tip it over.
  • If you work on an incline, you can tip over if you turn or maneuver.

Drive it like you own it

Careless, speedy, or absent-minded operation of a forklift can result in an accident. Don’t try to turn on a dime. Most forklifts aren’t stable enough to make fast, tight turns.

Sound the horn when you come to intersections or areas where you have an obstructed view. Drive slowly to ensure that you can stop if an obstacle or person suddenly gets in front of you.

Be aware of the center of gravity when carrying loads at all times. As you raise a load, the forklift can tip over to the side as well as fall forward.

Drive where you can see

If your load blocks your view, drive in reverse, making sure you look in that direction. If your load blocks your view, make sure you have the load lowered, not elevated when you travel.

Keep your eyes on the path: running over obstacles can cause a crash. If you’re roaming over loose dirt or rugged terrain, make sure you are driving the right forklift for the job.

Following this advice can keep you safe, but don’t take our word for it.

Make sure to brush up on forklift safety regardless of your level of training. OSHA provides a step-by-step guide to forklift safety as well.

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