Forklift accidentI recently read in the article, “Company aims to curb forklift-related pedestrian injuries and fatalities,” that every three days someone in the United States is killed in a fork lift-related accident.  THREE DAYS, people.  That’s one every long weekend.  And even more shocking (believe it or not), is that OSHA estimates that 70% of all reported accidents could have been avoided with proper safety precautions.

While these numbers and percentages are pretty alarming, what’s more concerning is that despite how well aware we are of the dangers associated with fork lift operations, many business fail to take the appropriate measures to prevent such costly misfortunes.  One of the easiest things you can start to get you on the path of safety and accident prevention is to understand where the most incidents and hazards occur.

Driving.  A fork lift maneuvers much differently than the other vehicles that we drive every day.  While their turning radius is typically much better than a car, the back end swings out extremely wide during those tight turns which leaves racking, dock doors and people in the crash zone.  One thing that you can do in response is to assign spotters to lift trucks in tight spaces and create pedestrian walk ways far enough away from the loading spaces to not interfere with lift truck traffic.

Blind Spots.  Think about carrying something stacked up in your arms, how’s your visibility in front of you and on the ground?  Limited right? You might stumble a little or bump into a door or wall perhaps?   Now image that you are driving a lift truck with a fully-loaded load weighting in at 4,800 pounds.  Those little bumps and blind spots aren’t so little anymore and they become much bigger problems. Training drivers to operate in reverse and providing them with a spotter until they are comfortable driving backwards are two simple steps you can take to avoid collisions.

Load Stability.  Understanding the weight and size of a load and how it relates to the capacity of the lift truck moving it are creditability important areas to evaluate.  Load become more unstable when lifted, taking turns or driving on slick surfaces, so making sure operators are using the right truck for the lift and traveling with the load lowered can help reduce roll-over accidents and door impacts.

Speed.  Let’s assume your lift without a load weighs in at 10,000 pounds, now let’s add a 5,000 pound load and that 15,000 pound fork lift is five times more than the average passenger car on the road today.  So what, you’re probably thinking, right?

Well there are few things to consider that can make a big impact on your safety.  First, that increased weight will do a lot more damage than a car traveling at twice the speed.  Second, that extra weight means they stopped is going to take much longer.

As you can tell, just these little, everyday areas can make a huge difference in how safe your lift truck operations are currently.  BEB’s Material Handling Safety Division provides training for a variety of equipment including fork lifts, aerial lifts, rail car movers, cranes and also rigging equipment.

So if you are looking at the starting a new safety initiative for the start of 2016, the time is now to contact BEB to speak to our certified trainers about how they can help you reduce accidents, injuries and damage to your products and facilities.  Contact us now to schedule your next training at 816-452-4125 or visit http://www.bebsoft.com/osha-safety-training.html.