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