What Are The Most Common Causes Of Forklift Accidents?
Forklift accidents can lead to serious consequences, so it is important for those involved with this heavy duty machinery to take steps to improve safety. Due to the dangerous nature of forklift use, there are a number of industry regulations in place to ensure safety. However, a high level of common sense must also be applied.
The first step to creating a safe operating environment for forklifts is to understand the common factors that lead to accidents. These factors can be broken down into five main categories: behavioural, organisational, environmental, mechanical, and problems related to the load.
Behavioural Factors That Cause Forklift Accidents
One of the most common causes of forklift accidents is the behaviour of the person operating the machinery. The type of conduct that can lead to problems can include:
- Forklift operators failing to communicate with other people working in the same area, meaning they can end up in the wrong place at the wrong time
- The forklift is driven too fast
- The forklift is driven with an elevated load
- The operator is doing things with the forklift he/she is not supposed to be doing (e.g. performing tricks)
- The forklift has not been parked properly
- The operator fails to follow proper procedure when backing up, turning, or braking
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Mechanical Problems that Cause Forklift Accidents
Forklifts need to be kept in good working order or it could mean that the vehicle becomes unsafe. This means that services and repairs need to be carried out on a regular basis. It is also important that the operator inspects the forklift for any problems before he/she uses it. If the vehicle is experiencing any type of malfunction, it needs to be repaired before being used again.
Organisational Factors that Cause Forklift Accidents
Examples of organisational factors that could increase the risk of forklift accidents would include:
• Overworked or overstressed forklift operators
• Failure to provide proper training
• Encouraging forklift operators to cut corners to get the job done more quickly
• Poor maintenance of forklifts
• Failing to replace forklifts when they are no longer safe to use
Factors Related to the Load that Lead to Forklift Accidents
Another common cause of this type of accident is attempting to carry loads that are too heavy. Problems can also occur if the load is unstable or the pallets holding the load are broken. If the load is stacked in such a way that the forklift operators are unable to see where they are going, this could also present a hazard.
Environmental Factors that Can Lead to Forklift Accidents
There are a number of environmental factors that can increase the risk of forklift accidents including:
• The area is too busy with many tasks being performed at the same time
• The area is cluttered with obstacles
• The forklift operator needs to negotiate a number of ramps to get to their destination
• There is poor lighting in the work area
• The forklift operator needs to deal with distractions such as loud noise or bad odours
• There is a great deal of dust in the environment
• The forklift needs to pass through narrow aisles
• The forklift needs to deal with a variety of surface conditions
How to Avoid Forklift Accidents
The key to avoiding forklift accidents is to understand the common contributing factors and how to reduce these risks. In order to create a safe forklift environment, there needs to be a team effort and a willingness to make safety a priority.
Written by East Midlands Forklifts.