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Safety Matters: Forklift Safety

There are more than 100,000 forklift-related accidents every year in the United States.  Forklifts were the source of 78 work-related deaths and 7,290 nonfatal injuries involving days away from work in 2020. While forklifts appear to be straightforward machines to operate, they can be quite tricky to maneuver in tight confines that you may find along aisles in warehouses.


Most forklift-related fatalities are due to human error, especially new or poorly trained operators. Therefore, the efficient operation and training of those who operate forklifts is arguably the best way to reduce accidents. Forklift safety is also dependent upon the condition of the facility. Things like cracked concrete or unlevel asphalt are another leading cause of several forklift accidents. To reduce the potential of a forklift accident, make sure to follow these facility best practices:


Create Lanes of Operation - If you can avoid the interaction of people with a forklift, you can reduce the potential for disaster.


Clean Up Spills or Wet Spots ASAP - If a spill happens, make sure to take time to clean up the spill, maintain traction for heavy forklifts.


Repair Cracks in Concrete and Asphalt - Along with keeping the surfaces free of debris, repairing cracks in the road is critical for optimal forklift safety.


Enforce a Speed Limit - A forklift operating with a full load traveling 10 miles per hour will require 40 feet to come to a complete stop. This applies to the operation of any forklift – loaded or unloaded.


If you operate a warehouse or distribution center, it's  a good idea to review some of these forklift best practices, to ensure your people stay safe, you reduce the potential of damaging merchandise, and control operational costs associated with these types of accidents.


*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For further information, please consult a risk management professional.

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