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Before you turn the key on, Before you Moved the Unit, what did you cover On that forklift?

What factors of work organization can contribute to forklift trucks accidents?

  • Lack of training or improper training of workers who have to operate forklift trucks.
  • Production factors such as speed or stress.
  • Lack of proper tools, attachments and accessories.
  • Improper assignment of forklifts and operators.
  • Poor maintenance of  forklifts.
  • Age of forklifts.

Advises forklift operators to:

  • Inspect forklifts before every use.
  • Perform regular maintenance checks on tires.
  • Establish safe procedures for loads, including picking up, putting down and stacking.
  • Turn off a forklift before performing maintenance.
  • Avoid overloading the forklift by following manufacturer guidelines on weight capacity.
  • Pick up loads with care.
  • Ensure a load is secured, carefully centered and distributed properly to maintain balance.
  • Ensure the forklift is at the correct height for picking up a load.
  • Wear the safety belt installed by the manufacturer.
  • Never engage in horseplay.
  • Never exceed 5 mph in congested or slippery areas.
  • Never drive too close to people standing in front of fixed or stacked objects.

What behavioural and operational factors can contribute to forklift trucks accidents?

  • An operator should avoid turning, if possible, and should use extreme caution on grades, ramps, or inclines. Normally the operator should travel straight up and down (ASME/ANSI B56.1, §5.3.8[d]) [ASME 1993].
  • The operator of a sit-down type forklift should stay with the truck if lateral or longitudinal tip over occurs. The operator should hold on firmly and lean away from the point of impact (ASME/ANSI B56.1, §5.3.18[d]) [ASME 1993].
  • Travelling at excessive speed.
  • Riding with the load elevated.
  • Improper backing up techniques.
  • Improper turning, braking or accelerating.
  • Improper warnings to others about a forklift in use nearby.
  • Poor communication during shared tasks, or in shared spaces.
  • Riding or giving rides on forklift or load.
  • Parking the forklift improperly.
  • Improper blocking of wheels on semi-trailers or railway cars.
  • Horseplay; stunt driving; jerky, erratic driving.
  • Inadequate servicing of the forklift.

 

How can workplace design contribute to forklift trucks accidents?

  • Narrow aisles.
  • Crowded, cluttered aisles.
  • Obstructions at intersections and doors.
  • Volume of traffic in work area.
  • Walking and working in the general area of forklift operations.
  • Other workplace conditions such as noise, odours, toxic gases, dust, or poor lighting.
  • Many ramps with different surfaces.
  • Condition of loading dock.

 

What characteristics of the load create a hazard?

  • Poorly stacked or piled on the pallet.
  • Pallets in poor repair.
  • Load too heavy.
  • Load unstable or blocking vision.

Workers who operate or work near forklifts may be struck or crushed by the machine or the load being handled.

Workers: If you operate or work near forklifts, take these steps to protect yourself.

  • Do not operate a forklift unless you have been trained and licensed
  • Use seatbelts if they are available
  • Report to your supervisor any damage or problems that occur to a forklift during your shift
  • Do not jump from an overturning, sit-down type forklift. Stay with the truck, holding on firmly and leaning in the opposite direction of the overturn
  • Exit from a stand-up type forklift with rear-entry access by stepping backward if a lateral tip over occurs
  • Use extreme caution on grades or ramps
  • On grades, tilt the load back and raise it only as far as needed to clear the road surface
  • Do not raise or lower the forks while the forklift is moving
  • Do not handle loads that are heavier than the weight capacity of the forklift
  • Operate the forklift at a speed that will permit it to be stopped safely
  • Slow down and sound the horn at cross aisles and other locations where vision is obstructed
  • Look toward the travel path and keep a clear view of it
  • Do not allow passengers to ride on forklift trucks unless a seat is provided
  • When dismounting from a forklift, set the parking brake, lower the forks or lifting carriage, and neutralize the controls
  • Do not drive up to anyone standing in front of a bench or other fixed object
  • Do not use a forklift to elevate workers who are standing on the forks
  • Elevate a worker on a platform only when the vehicle is directly below the work area
  • Whenever a truck is used to elevate personnel, secure the elevating platform to the lifting carriage or forks of the forklift
  • Use a restraining means such as rails, chains, or a body belt with a lanyard or deceleration device for the worker(s) on the platform
  • Do not drive to another location with the work platform elevated

 

What mechanical conditions or design features increase the risk for forklift accidents?

  • Malfunction of brakes.
  • Malfunction of steering.
  • Malfunction of clutch, shift linkage, or transmission.
  • Malfunction of mast assembly.
  • Leaks in hydraulic systems or transmission.
  • Safety devices lacking, inadequate, or malfunctioning.
  • Emissions from forklifts.
  • Blind spots or obstructions blocking driver’s view.
  • Poor layout of controls and displays.

 

How can accidents with pedestrians be reduced or avoided?

  • Separate the pedestrian and forklift traffic by creating designated walkways or travel ways.
  • Restrict people from entering areas where the forklift is operating.
  • Keep a safe distance from the forklift whenever possible.
  • Pedestrians should always let the driver know they are in the area. Make eye contact with the driver to ensure your presence is known.
  • Ensure the area is well lit and there are no obstructions.
  • Be cautious near blind corners, doorways, and narrow aisles. Sound the forklift horn at intersections.
  • Use high-visibility clothing, where appropriate.
  • Limit forklift travel speed.
  • Do not walk near or under raised forks.
  • Do not load the forklift in a way that restricts the driver’s viewing area.
  • Avoid driving forklift near areas where pedestrian traffic is high

Terry Penney

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