Forklift truck accidents can occur in many work environments, including factories and construction work sites. These accidents can include rollovers and collisions which result in brain injuries, broken bones, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and even fatalities. Many forklift truck accidents are preventable. In many cases, forklift truck accidents are blamed on truck operators, and while training and expertise of operators can help reduce forklift truck accidents, these accidents are in fact caused by a variety of factors. Therefore, there are a variety of solutions must be implemented in most workplaces to prevent forklift truck accidents:
1) Careful servicing and maintenance. Employers need to ensure that all forklift trucks are maintained and serviced to manufacturers specifications. This can be a challenge if a workplace has multiple models and several older models of trucks, but careful maintenance can help prevent many forklift truck accidents.
2) Imposing speed limits. Many forklift truck accidents are caused by excessive speeds. Forklift trucks are designed to stop slowly. Most models require about 1.3 feet to stop for every mile per hour they travel. The faster a forklift truck is traveling, the longer it will take to stop and the harder it will be for the operator to stop in time to prevent a collision. It is a good idea to post speed limits of 8 miles per hour in the work place and limits of 3 miles per hour in areas with pedestrians. Posting and enforcing such speed limits can significantly reduce forklift truck accidents in the workplace.
3) Warning devices. Most forklift trucks come with safety features. Even the simplest models have a horn which operators can use to warn others when a forklift is approaching. More modern models have reflective patches for high visibility as well as automatic lights and alarm sounds when the forklift is in motion. This is essential in warning anyone in the truck’s blind spot to move out of the way.
4) Operator training. All forklift truck operators should receive initial training as well as periodic refresher training. This training should include directions for use of warning devices and instructions on safe use of the truck. Operators should also be taught how to identify and check the blind spots a forklift truck has.