When used correctly, forklifts are effective, useful tools on a construction site. However, they can also pose a hazard to workers. There are between 85 and 100 forklift-related fatalities in the United States every year, and according to Eastern Kentucky University, there are nearly 100,000 forklift accidents that cause non-fatal injuries.
Forklifts are a necessity on construction sites and probably always will be. Therefore, it falls to occupational safety professionals, construction companies and workers to cooperate with one another to prevent accidents. Here are some helpful safety guidelines.
The driver should remain in the vehicle
If a forklift tips over, a driver’s instinct may be to jump from the vehicle. However, this is the cause of 42% of all forklift fatalities. Specifically, the overhead guard can crush the driver as he or she lands on the ground after jumping from the cab. The driver should always wear a seat belt and remain in the forklift if it starts to tip over.
All drivers should receive training
According to the OSHA Safety Manual, many forklift accidents are preventable with proper training. Even when an accident is unavoidable, training can reduce its severity. Construction companies should make sure than everyone who drives a forklift receives proper training. Workers who have not received training should never attempt to drive a forklift.
The load should remain low
If a forklift operator attempts to transport a load held in a high position, it can increase the likelihood of a tip-over accident due to the decreased stability of the vehicle. Therefore, drivers can help to prevent accidents by keeping the load as close to the ground as possible while the vehicle is in motion.