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Forklift Safety Toolbox Talk

Forklifts are a powerful tool on the construction site but are the unfortunate cause of many injuries and fatalities each year. In this forklift toolbox talk, learn about forklift safety and how to prevent forklift accidents on the jobsite.

Forklift Safety Talk

Forklifts are a part of job sites of all kinds, whether it is a construction site or a warehouse job. They are used to move materials to the desired locations that they need to be in. You can find these pieces of equipment in two different varieties, ones that are operated by riding on it or ones that are operated by a walking operator.

Just like all pieces of machinery, there are rules and regulations that need to be followed when operating forklifts. Depending on the type of forklift that you are using, the safety protocols may vary, but overall the same type of forklift safety precautions are needed. It is not only about the operator's safety, but also the safety of pedestrians around the forklift as well.

Forklift Injury & Fatality Statistics

Forklift accidents happen all too often in warehouses and on jobsites across the country. Thanks to institutions like OSHA and NIOSH, we are able to get data on the occurrence and causes of forklift injuries and fatalities in order to help prevent future ones from occurring.

OSHA Forklift Fatality Statistics

Unfortunately, there are several reports of fatalities that have been made revolving around forklift incidents. OSHA reports that annually there are about 85 fatalities having to do with forklifts. That is a large number that needs to be reduced. One of the biggest risks that there is with forklifts, is being on uneven ground or having an uneven load, and the machine tips over.

OSHA Forklift Injury Statistics

There have been many instances that have been reported to OSHA over injuries that people have endured from a forklift. That is both from the operators and the pedestrians standing by. Sometimes it can be more dangerous to be a bystander than the one operating the big equipment. Annually OSHA received over 34,000 reports of injuries due to forklifts.

NIOSH Forklift Fatality Research

NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) is a company that specializes in helping to prevent fatalities and injuries on the worksite. They will help to revise and change the ways that are being used, which is not safe. They have researched different incidents that have happened and what their causes were.

Over a period of 14 years, they recorded and investigated 1,024 fatal incidents that happened with forklifts. Of all of those incidents that occurred, NIOSH discovered that the breakdown of them all was as followed:

  • 9% of People Fell From The Forklift

  • 16% of People Were Crushed By The Forklift

  • 20% of People Were Struck By A Forklift

  • 22% of People Were Killed By An Overturned Forklift

forklift being used safely on construction site.

Forklift Safety Practices

Making sure that everyone is aware of forklift safety precautions and regulations that need to be followed can make a worksite more safe. There is a risk of injury to everyone that is on that site and if everyone works together to make things as safe as possible, unnecessary injury can be avoided. Having workers complete a Forklift Safety Checklist is a great way to ensure that gets done. Here are some forklift safety talking points that employees should all know before operating a forklift and put into action to help do their part.

1. Avoid Crowded Areas

Areas that are crowded with people make for a dangerous situation. The pedestrians who are walking around are at risk of being struck by the forklift, pinned between things, or injured from things falling. For forklift-pedestrian safety, it is best to make sure that only the responsible beings are around the outside of the machine and there are blocked off areas to make the area safe for passing people.

2. Watch The Weight Of The Load

When the forklift is loaded, making sure that the weight limit is being adhered to is important. Having uneven loads of loads that are too heavy can make for dangerous situations. The machinery can tip over or the load can fall off. Posing as a risk to many people.

3. Watch The Fork Height

When you are moving a load or even without a load, the forks of the machine should be low to the ground. This way things can be more easily managed and if there were to be a problem, there is less risk of it hurting someone.

4. Watch Your Speed

When you are traveling on the worksite, there is no reason to excess in speed. Going slow and steady is safest for everyone involved. That way you can be more aware of your surroundings and things that may get in your way.

5. Stay On Even Ground

Uneven grounds are the most common reason for tip-overs happening to the forklift. Make sure that you are paying attention to the ground levels that you are working on. The load that you are carrying will determine how well the forklift travels on uneven grounds as well.

6. Use The Seatbelt

Safety belts should always be worn when you are operating a moving vehicle of any kind. The forklift is no exception to that rule. Anyone who is operating the equipment should always have the seatbelt on and buckled for their safety.

7. Stay Put When Tipping Over

When you are in a forklift and it begins to tip, your first instinct may be to jump out. This is actually more dangerous than staying put. You risk slipping or not jumping far enough and getting stuck under the equipment. The best thing to do is to stay put and brace yourself the best you can.

8. Only Operate If Qualified

There are licenses and qualifications that you need to operate heavy machinery. These courses are going to teach you the correct usage and safety guidelines to operate them. It is important that when you are on a job site, that you are only operating machinery that you are authorized to use.

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