A forklift is important work equipment in warehouses and factories. They lessen the burden of moving heavy materials around. These useful machines, however, contribute greatly to workplace accidents. According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), each year in the United States, nearly 100 workers are killed in forklift-related accidents, and about 20,000 workers sustain serious injuries. 20% of these accidents involve pedestrians, who also account for 36% of forklift-related deaths. Below are the 3 major causes of forklift accidents.
Poor training of both operators and pedestrians contribute greatly to forklift accidents. Operators should be properly trained by the company, ensuring they meet training requirements as mandated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Some of the best practices OSHA provided are:
- No matter the travel condition, all trucks should move at a speed that won’t hinder them from braking safely. Forklifts respond slowly to brakes, therefore driving at a high speed can delay braking in time to avoid a collision.
- Forklifts should carry loads slightly above the road surface. It can be driven that way to its destination. Also, no fork movements – raising and lowering – while driving. This is to help avoid tip over, which is common in forklift accidents.
- The eyes of forklift operators should always be on their travel path, so they won’t surprisingly run into an obstacle.
- Operators should always honk when they approach cross aisles, or any location with obstructed vision.
Poor Maintenance of Machine
A poorly maintained vehicle can’t function properly. Normally, forklifts are slow to stop because they only have brakes in front. If, for instance, a forklift develops faulty brakes, then halting it would take longer. That additional delay could cause an accident, hurting an innocent pedestrian. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have set maintenance and safety requirements. Find some of them below:
- All parts of vehicles must undergo regular and meticulous inspections. This should ensure that they always operate under good working conditions.
- For works being done on an elevated platform, the individual(s) on the platform should secure themselves with a body belt to protect them from fatal falls. Also, in the case where an item is being moved, the pulley being used should be properly secured before the job begins.
Unsafe Working Environment
Most avoidable accidents happen because employers fail to make their working environment safe for employees. Ensuring workers follow safe work practices and setting up an environment where these practices can be easily kept is the responsibility of the company. Even though the workers, too, bear responsibility for safety practices, company owners are mostly responsible for keeping their environment free from work hazards. Some best practices to ensure a workplace is in safe condition are:
- Keep records of workplace injuries so they can be avoided in the future.
- Put warning signs and mark out designated forklift zones with floor tape.
- Provide proper training for operators and pedestrians.
If any work accident occurs due to the negligence of a company, and you get hurt in any way, Richard Harris auto accident attorneys can help you receive the injury compensation you deserve. It’s your right, so don’t hesitate to reach them.