June 10th is Forklift Safety Day. Yes, lately it seems like every day is something-day: “Take Your Pet To Work Day”, “Talk Like A Pirate Day”, “Bacon Day”, and yes, these are real quasi-holidays. Forklift Safety Day, however, is not some fun, tongue-in-cheek goofy day. According to OSHA statistics, forklifts are involved in 96,785 accidents per year. Of those, 61,800 are considered not serious, 34,900 are serious, and 85 are fatal. Whichever group you’re in, forklift safety is something to keep in mind every day.
Regardless of the forklift being used and what it’s being used for, there are three factors common to its safe operation:
- Training – Nothing beats training when it comes to safety. According to OSHA, 42% of forklift fatalities are caused by a driver trying to jump free of a tipping forklift. A driver with proper training will know to stay with the forklift if it starts to tip, and they will always fasten their seat belt.
- Proper Application – A driver should know which type of forklift to use for which job. If the load you’re lifting exceeds the lifting capacity of the forklift, anything from tipping to equipment failure (and a sudden loss of the load) could result.
- Maintenance – Failure to maintain the forklift can lead to serious, expensive, and possibly even dangerous malfunctions.
Of course, not all forklifts are the same. Some have seats while others are stand-up models. There even light-duty walk-behind models. Whichever one you use, here are some bonus safety tips to help keep your work area safe:
- If the forklift is to be left unattended, lower the forks all the way to the floor. Neutralize the controls, turn it completely off, and be sure to set the brakes. If you have to leave it on an incline, make sure to block the wheels.
- Do not use a forklift to open or close freight doors or for any purpose other than that for which it was built.
- If you’re following another forklift, maintain a three-vehicle distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
- When approaching an intersection or other blind corner, slow down and sound your horn. If the load is blocking your vision, drive with the load behind you.
- Sloped surfaces should be approached and driven on slowly. If the grade exceeds 10%, the load should be in front of you so that is doesn’t tip.
June 10th is Forklift Safety Day, but that isn’t the only time you should think about forklift safety. Any day that you are around forklifts should be considered Forklift Safety Day!
To do your part for safety, contact us for equipment maintenance, training materials, and for answers to other questions you may have!