June 8th saw the annual Forklift Safety Day with the focus of the day on tip-overs. This type of incident causes 42% of all fatalities and are the number one killer of forklift operatives. We know those are stats that make for pretty grim reading which is why raising awareness of the fatalities and how to avoid them is crucial.
The reality is like most incidents, forklift tip-over can be easily avoided by following the correct precautions. but why are there so many and how do they occur – let’s take a look…
- Sudden turns, especially when not carrying a load
- Sharp changes in speed or direction
- Driving too fast
- Driving off the edge of a loading bay, ramp, dock, etc.
- Driving with the load raised
- Hitting a kerb, pothole or debris (such as a broken pallet)
- Driving with an excessive, uneven or swinging load
- Turning on or traversing across a ramp or slope
- Driving downwards with the load in front
- Turning with the load raised
- Driving on an uneven surface
We can see from the list that many of the issues relate to incorrect use of the forklift, moving at speed and turning. So how can these common problems be avoided?
Driving at a slower speed helps reduce the increasing momentum of the load whilst travelling in reverse helps to further reduce speed and provides a clear view for the operative.
Use a pallet wherever possible rather than suspending the load, this secures the load and prevents additional movement. Laden trucks become less stable the higher the load is lifted. Although turning with a load can be perceived as a time-saver, adding additional manoeuvres will keep an elevated load safe (and upright)
Only drive up or down an incline and never across. Always travel with the load uphill to improve stability, traction and adhesion. Only drive on the surface the truck is designed for. Look out for potholes, debris or uneven surfaces and always choose a clear route for maximum safety.
Understand and don’t exceed the truck’s capacity and make sure your operators understand the limits. Use shrink wraps, strapping or banding to secure large loads and ensure that forks are evenly placed to distribute the weight.
Is the amount of time from the moment a truck starts to tip… to the moment the overhead guard crushes the operator.
It is never worth the risk of cutting corners or saving time. For more forklift safety advice download our free SMART RESOURCE here.
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