- Operators inadvertently drive forklifts off loading docks
- Lifts fall between docks and unsecured trailers
- Lift trucks strike pedestrians
- Workers fall from elevated pallets and tines
So what are some procedures and housekeeping rules employers can implement to create a safer workplace?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published an alert on Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Workers Who Operate or Work Near Forklifts. In it, NIOSH offers some suggestions for controlling this occupational hazard from several angles which include the following.
For the work environment:
- Do regular safety inspections to identify potential hazards
- Distance workstations and equipment as far away from aisles as possible, and keep aisles clear
- Enforce safe facility traffic rules, such as speed limits and stop signs
- Keep loading docks, aisles and operating surfaces well maintained
For workers on foot:
- Where possible, keep forklift traffic and foot workers separate
- Designate some aisles for foot workers or forklifts only
- Keep employee high traffic areas – such as time clocks and break rooms – off limits to forklifts
- Identify blind corners and intersections where mirrors might improve visibility
- Use horns, alarms and flashing lights to alert workers when forklifts are present
For forklift operators:
- Only operate a forklift if you are trained and licensed to do so
- Use your seatbelt if available
- If your forklift is damaged, report it immediately
- Never jump from an overturning forklift, but hold on firmly, leaning in the opposite direction of the overturn
- Always use extreme caution on ramps and inclines
- Visit NIOSH’s website for more information
More resources are also available on OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks page. In conjunction with the Industrial Trucking Association (ITA), OSHA has published Sample Daily Checklists for Powered Industrial Trucks to help with training and maintenance.
What are some ways your facility promotes forklift safety?
About Accuform Signs
Accuform Signs, located in Brooksville, FL, is the leading manufacturer of facility safety identification products. Founded in 1976, Accuform Signs sells products to a network of distributors throughout North America, South America and Asia. From personalized safety signs, safety tags and labels, to traffic safety and lockout/tag out products, Accuform Signs provides the products and sales support for the distributors that define the safety industry.