Forklift Loads Can Lead to Serious Accidents if Not Careful
Forklifts are one of the most useful and important pieces of equipment in warehouses all across the country. They allow businesses to move large loads across worksites with ease. However, just like with every other piece of heavy machinery, they come with their share of hazards.
According to OSHA, there are roughly 100 deaths and up to 95,000 injuries that occur due to forklift operation accidents. Turnovers account for about a quarter of these forklift-related deaths. Drivers must be trained professionals who are aware of the proper operating protocols of their equipment. They must also be aware of potential forklift loading hazards. These can pose serious risks to the driver and anyone else in the vicinity. Some of these loading hazards include:
While forklifts can carry thousands of pounds, it does no good when that load is not secured properly. The weight of the load should be evenly distributed across the pallet and stacked correctly, not exceeding the forklift’s limits. Using proper tie-down procedures can also help keep your load secure and in place.
The standard forklift is designed to carry a capacity load at a standard load center, sitting at around 24 inches. OSHA has developed helpful formulas and information to help those operating forklifts determine if they can safely carry the weight of a load. If the weight exceeds the capacity, there is an increased risk of tip-over or losing your load, potentially harming those in the area with falling materials.
There are two main risks when it comes to the height of your load: visibility and stability. The most obvious issue with a load that is too tall is that it can impair or block your vision. If you can’t see over the height of the pallet, then the load is too tall. Also, if a heavy load is carried at a certain height, the risk of your forklift tipping over or the stack falling greatly increases.
Loads with Hazardous Materials
In many industries, forklift drivers are required to carry loads of hazardous materials. Whenever this is the case, it is pivotal that drivers pay special attention to their operation to ensure that no accidents occur. This can be one of the most potentially dangerous load hazards out there. Dangerous gases, highly flammable materials, poisonous materials that pose environmental risks, and many more should all be handled and loaded with the highest levels of care and caution.
Tips to Ensure Forklift Safety
While there are a great many risks when it comes to operating a forklift, there are still plenty of tips you can follow to make sure that they are operated safely. Some of these are:
- Make sure all drivers are qualified.
- Examine the equipment to make sure it can be operated safely.
- Secure the load.
- Stay alert at all times.
- Stay at a safe speed.
- Maintain visibility.
By following these tips and staying aware of the potential load hazards, businesses and employees and ensure that their workspace stays as safe as possible.
Forklifts are designed to lift and carry thousands of pounds of weight, but that does not mean they are not without their risks. The load of your forklift and how it is secured and handled can lead to potentially harmful accidents. Contact Ace Equipment to learn how to safely load your forklift or to answer any of your forklift questions.