Our Top 5 Forklift Safety Tips

Feb 28, 2022
our top forklift safety tips

Each year, there are roughly 62,000 forklift accidents in the United States. More than half of those result in serious injury. Forklift safety should be a number one priority for everyone that works in a warehouse.

Of the tens of thousands of forklift accidents and injuries that occur each year, about 70% are avoidable, according to OSHA. Through rigorous training and policy enforcement, the vast majority of forklift safety incidents can be prevented. 

The benefits of comprehensive safety programs are many. In addition to keeping your workers alive and uninjured, you can avoid downtime, increase productivity, reduce insurance expenses, avoid litigation, improve morale, prevent equipment damage, and keep product damage to a minimum. 

Here are five things you should consider when implementing or updating a safety program:

Use The Latest Technology

A lot has changed in recent years. On the training side, we now have virtual reality based training that is amazingly realistic and incredibly effective. Instead of on the job training, workers can get virtually trained on new equipment, giving them experience and confidence before going out on the warehouse floor. 

Forklift telematics can also transform your safety practices. Constant tracking of the movement, speed and activities of your trucks keeps your drivers accountable and can help you identify training issues before they turn into accidents. 

Keep Your Equipment In Top Shape

Through proactive maintenance and routine inspections, you can avoid many equipment related accidents. Worn tires, faulty brakes, cracked forks or other maintenance issues can be identified early on and addressed before they become an issue. 

Incentivize Safety

Incentives can help you get buy-in from your entire team and create a culture of safety within your organization. Individual employees and teams should be recognized and rewarded for their safety efforts.

A good incentive program can help you quickly roll out a safety program and keep your team engaged and satisfied. 

Train Your Drivers For Load Awareness

Tip-overs are the most common cause of serious forklift accidents, so you should make sure that they don’t ever happen. Counterbalanced forklifts typically have a “stability triangle” suspension system (even if the truck has 4 wheels), with the front two wheels acting as two points of the triangle and the center of the steer axle as the third. 

Loads that keep the center of gravity of the truck within the stability triangle are safe to carry, but overweight or oversized loads can throw a truck off balance and cause an accident.  Drivers should always be mindful of what they are handling and not take any risks when it comes to unfamiliar or oversized goods.

Make Your Trucks Safer

In addition to the standard safety features on your truck, you can add equipment and that will help you improve your safety posture. For example, you can add blue pedestrian lights to your trucks to give your workers on the floor better visibility.  There are numerous available add-ons that can help keep your employees safer, including blind spot cameras, fork guidance lasers, tilt indicators, collision sensors and many more. 

You can also make adjustments to your forklifts to make them safer.  For example, if you have a smaller warehouse you may want to regulate the top speed of your trucks. 

Talk To A Forklift Safety Expert      

If you’d like to learn more about forklift training programs, virtual reality training systems, or forklift safety features, talk to a material handling expert at Raymond West today!