Common Forklift Accidents and How to Prevent Them

October 28 Safety Training

From warehousing and industrial manufacturing to construction and forestry, forklifts are widely utilized in a variety of industries. Though they are versatile and effective in many environments, forklifts can present several safety risks for operators and surrounding personnel. Understanding these risks is crucial for minimizing the chances of an accident. As leading providers of safety training solutions, the team at EFAS Safety understands the importance of proper instruction and precautions when using forklifts. That is why our team has compiled some information on the most common forklift accidents and how to prevent them.

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3 Types of Common Forklift Accidents

The following types of accidents are the most recorded and reported for operations that utilize forklifts in their daily operations:

1. Pedestrian Collisions

When forklifts are in use, the most vulnerable individuals are personnel who are working near the unit on foot. An operator may not see a pedestrian if they are carrying a load, or a pedestrian may not notice a forklift driving near them. To minimize the risk of pedestrian collisions, operations should utilize warning signs and floor tape to designate “forklift zones”. This will notify personnel that forklifts are used in this area and help them maintain a high level of awareness. Forklift operators should also utilize their horn and blue lights to alert any nearby pedestrians of their presence. When carrying a load that obstructs their vision, they should utilize a spotter to further minimize the risk of a collision. A final method of prevention is the use of sensors on the forklift to alert drivers of pedestrians that they may not be able to see.

2. Pallet and Racking Incidents

Dropped pallets, racking collisions, and damaged products are significant risks when operating a forklift. Pallets and other loads become more difficult to handle at higher levels due to reduced stability and decreased visibility. Dropped pallets can also occur near ground level if the operator is not using their forks properly and needs to come to a sudden stop. Automatic fork levelers and mast-mounted cameras are two types of equipment that can be used to minimize the risk of these incidents, though proper awareness and training will always play a role as well.

3. Tipping and Rollovers

Tipping and forklift rollovers are the leading cause of fatal accidents involving lift trucks. Rollovers can be caused by improper turning, driving with an elevated load, excessive speed, or a combination of multiple factors. The best way to minimize the risk of these incidents is proper operator training and awareness, as operators must always be conscious of their speed and load height.

To learn more about forklift safety and other important safety topics, get in touch with the experts at EFAS Safety. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our training or safety supplies.