From 1980 to 1994 there were 1,021 fatalities due to forklift-related accidents per The National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) Surveillance System. The fatalities occurred as a result of the following types of accidents:
|Type of Accident||Percentage of Accidents|
|Worker on foot struck by forklift||20%|
|Victim crushed by forklift||16%|
|Fall from forklift||9%|
By far, forklift overturns and pedestrians struck by forklifts are the leading cause of death due to these types of accidents in the workplace. What can be done to prevent this from happening? Here are some helpful resources and tips to stay safe:
- Refresher Training – If you notice forklift operators speeding in your warehouse, not honking their horn around blind corners or not focused on the job, it may be time for refresher training. Refresher training is one of the best ways to increase awareness and reduce the likelihood of a serious accident in your workplace. Check out the OSHA Quick Card for a free safety publication that can be used to provide your forklift operators with refresher training.
- Pedestrian Safety – Ensure that employees working around forklifts have been trained on site-specific hazards and how to prevent being struck by a forklift.
- Seat Belt Policy – Make sure that forklift operators are using their seat belts! Enforcing the use of seat belts is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent being crushed by a forklift. If you’re having a difficult time getting operators to wear their seat belts, consider implementing a written policy and have operators sign it.
- Real Life Accidents – YouTube has some great examples of real life forklift accidents. Use these videos during your refresher training class to drive home the message and get operators to understand the importance of forklift safety. The Top 10 Forklift Accidents video on YouTube is one to watch.
Forklift safety is a multifaceted challenge. It includes proper training, appropriate vehicle maintenance/inspection and using the right type of machine for the job.