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How can Workers Use a Forklift Safely?

Forklift Safely

Forklift safety is an important concern in warehouses and other settings where forklifts are commonplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that accidents while using forklifts cause almost 35,000 serious injuries in the workplace and nearly 90 fatalities each year in the United States. OSHA also estimates that nearly a quarter of these accidents were as a result of inadequate training.

Employers can approach forklift safety from a multi-faceted approach by educating the employees and also making upgrades to the work environment to enhance safety.

 How to Use a Forklift Safely

Some guidelines for forklift safety include the following:

  • Follow forklift certification. OSHA provides forklift safety standards to obtain certification. Employees should be refreshed on their forklift certification every three years. This certification class can include software training, lectures, videos, and live demonstrations.
  • Provide a floor marking system. A floor marking system can show adequate pathways for forklifts and pedestrian crossings. This can delineate safe routes for the forklift through the warehouse or construction site. This will improve the flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic throughout the workplace.
  • Forklift operators should not carry extra people. Additional workers should not ride on the forklift unless there is a second seat that is specifically for a second person to ride.  If a worker needs to be lifted, a secure work platform and cage should be used.
  • Avoid hazardous equipment. Similar to marking out the floor, forklifts should not be near hazardous equipment. If the load falls off the forklift, it should not be able to roll into hazardous equipment or chemicals.  A wide, clear space should be available for the forklift to operate safely.
  • Implement a safety checklist on the worksite. A safety checklist is important and will serve as a visual reminder to operators.
  • Examine the forklift and other equipment before each use. Since a forklift may be used by multiple operators throughout the day, it is important that it is periodically inspected for any damage. Damage should be reported to management immediately, and the forklift should not be utilized.  Employees should be trained to follow these procedures.
  • Maintain clear visibility. If the load is preventing visibility over the front of the machine, it is a good idea to operate it in reverse.
  • Ensure the forklift is not overloaded. Workers should not run the risk of tipping the forklift with a heavy load that changes the machine’s center of gravity. It is important to ensure that there is an established method for determining the proper weight that can be carried by the forklift.

Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC can Help if You Have Been Injured in a Forklift Accident at Work

If you are injured as a result of a forklift accident while at work, the Downingtown Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC can help determine if you are eligible for Workers’ Compensation. Employers have a responsibility to keep employees safe with regard to forklift operation.  If certain rules have not been followed, the employer could have additional responsibility for the accident. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are located in Exton, Pennsylvania where we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.