Toolbox Talk: Preventing Forklift Accidents


Forklift accidents cause nearly 100,000 injuries per year in U.S. workplaces, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). With about 850,000 forklifts currently in use nationwide, this means that 11 percent of forklifts will be involved in an accident on average.

Workers who operate forklifts and those who work near forklifts must contribute to maintaining safety and avoiding accidents. Here’s what your workers can do to improve forklift safety on the job.

1. Pay Attention to How the Forklift Moves.

Forklifts don’t move in the same way cars or smaller vehicles like golf carts do. While they have a tight turning radius in the front, forklifts need plenty of space in the rear to make a wide swing. Train drivers, spotters, and others in the area to leave extra clearance around the forklift in order to avoid being struck during a turn.

2. Know the Blind Spots.

Just as it’s essential to understand a vehicle’s blind spots on the road, it’s essential to understand a forklift’s blind spots when it’s being operated. Diagrams can help workers understand when and where a forklift driver cannot see them, so they can avoid standing in blind spot areas.

Since forklifts are often operated in reverse, it’s worth investing time and energy in extra training to ensure your forklift drivers can drive in reverse as well as forward. Teach all staff that staying out of the forklift’s blind spots is the “right” way to work around a forklift, whether or not it is in operation or loaded.

3. Double-Check Load Stability.

A forklift, the load it carries or both can become unstable, especially if the forklift drives on an incline, on a rough surface, or over spills or debris. Fast turns and raised loads can also cause instability even when the surface beneath the forklift is flat and clean.

Teach everyone on the team to maintain the workspace in order to minimize the risk of a spill or debris causing forklift instability. Workers should also be trained in the habit of giving forklifts extra clearance when they are loaded, especially if the load is in the raised position.

Build Up Your Workplace Saftey

At Eclipse Professional Services, our recruiters specialize in connecting our clients to the best available talent. Once you have the people you need, we can also help you ensure you’re providing the training they need to avoid costly accidents and focus on the job. Contact us today to learn more.

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