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    6 Major Tips on Avoiding Forklift Accidents

    Tyler, TX September 2,2008-- A member of the Texas Forest Service moves a batch of MRE (meals ready to eat) in a warehouse in Tyler, TX.supplies in a The warehouse is being used to handle basic supplies of water and MRE (meals ready to eat) for distribution to residents affected by Hurricane Gustav. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

    The best way to reduce the risk of forklift accidents is to make sure that your workers have proper forklift training. However, once you get your certification, it’s important to stick to these tips to avoid forklift accidents.

    Here are 6 Major Tips on Avoiding Forklift Accidents

    CCOHS has grouped forklift related accidents into 4 areas:

    • Work Organization
    • Behavioral and Operational
    • Workplace Design
    • Load Characteristics
    • Mechanical Conditions
    • Pedestrian Related Accidents
    1. Work Organization

    Make sure that you are not using outdated equipment that is not being maintained. Also, workers who have not been trained properly, or under a stress are likely to cause forklift related accidents. Improper assignment of operators and forklifts can also cause problems in the workplace.

    1. Behavioral and Operational

    Travelling at excessive speeds as well as riding with the elevated load will lead to injuries. Improper turning, braking, parking, accelerating all lead forklift truck accidents. If you give rides on forklifts or load, performs stunts, don’t communicate with the people around – you are setting up yourself for an injury.

    1. The following areas of the workplace design can contribute to the forklift accidents:
    • Narrow, crowded and cluttered aisles.
    • High traffic and volume in the area.
    • Dangerous workplace conditions such as dust, toxic gases, noise, bad smells, improper lighting.
    • High number of ramps and obstructions at the doors and intersections.
    1. Load Characteristics

    According to the CCOHS, heavy loads, loads that block vision and are unstable, poorly stacked loads and pallets in poor condition can create hazardous conditions for the forklift drivers.

    1. Mechanical Conditions to Avoid:
    • Malfunctioning breaks and steering
    • Malfunctioning clutch, transmission or mast assembly.
    • Leaks in hydraulics or transmission.
    • Inadequate or malfunctioning safety devices.
    1. Pedestrian Related Tips
    • Have designated walkways to separate pedestrians from the forklift traffic.
    • Do not allow pedestrians to enter the areas with high forklift traffic.
    • Educate workers about safe distances from the forklift operating zones and communication with the driver.
    • Watch out for corners, doorways and narrow aisles.
    • Use high visibility clothing.
    • Limit travel speed and avoid travelling in the areas with high pedestrian traffic.

    Here’s a video on what happens when you do not follow these rules:

    Based on CCOHS materials.