Some Tips On Preventing Forklift Accidents

Jul 29, 2022
NIOSH Forklift Safety Tips

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests the following key safety practices in their Publication 2000-112.

On average, about 87 people in the United States are killed in forklift accidents each year.  Disturbingly, forklift accident fatalities have increased by about 30% in the last ten years vs the ten years prior. 

Of course, not all forklift accidents cause fatalities. Almost 35,000 forklift incidents result in serious injury each year. In addition, there are over 60,000 incidents that are classified as “non-serious” annually. 

The Industrial Truck Association estimates that there are close to 856,000 forklifts in use in the United States today.  Given the number of incidents described, that means that about 4% of all forklifts are involved in serious accidents each year, and another 7% are involved in non-serious accidents. 

Proper Training And Use Can Prevent Most Accidents

With proper training and appropriate use, operating a forklift is actually very safe. In fact, based on data from the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), nearly 70% of all forklift accidents in the US are preventable with appropriate safety training and policy enforcement.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests the following key safety practices in their Publication 2000-112:

  • Do not operate a forklift unless you have been trained and licensed
  • Use seatbelts if they are available
  • Report to your supervisor any damage or problems that occur to a forklift during your shift
  • Do not jump from an overturning, sit-down type forklift. Stay with the truck, holding on firmly and leaning in the opposite direction of the overturn
  • Exit from a stand-up type forklift with rear-entry access by stepping backward if a lateral tip over occurs
  • Use extreme caution on grades or ramps
  • On grades, tilt the load back and raise it only as far as needed to clear the road surface
  • Do not raise or lower the forks while the forklift is moving
  • Do not handle loads that are heavier than the weight capacity of the forklift
  • Operate the forklift at a speed that will permit it to be stopped safely
  • Slow down and sound the horn at cross aisles and other locations where vision is obstructed
  • Look toward the travel path and keep a clear view of it
  • Do not allow passengers to ride on forklift trucks unless a seat is provided
  • When dismounting from a forklift, set the parking brake, lower the forks or lifting carriage, and neutralize the controls
  • Do not drive up to anyone standing in front of a bench or other fixed object
  • Do not use a forklift to elevate workers who are standing on the forks
  • Elevate a worker on a platform only when the vehicle is directly below the work area
  • Whenever a truck is used to elevate personnel, secure the elevating platform to the lifting carriage or forks of the forklift
  • Use a restraining means such as rails, chains, or a body belt with a lanyard or deceleration device for the worker(s) on the platform
  • Do not drive to another location with the work platform elevated

While some of these suggestions may seem like common sense, they should be instilled in all forklift operators and frequently reinforced in ongoing, OSHA compliant training. 

Forklift Training Near Me

If you are interested in improving your safety and training program, contact the training division at Raymond West today.  Our safety experts can help you with programs, policy and best practices for your organization.