Forklift Accidents

Forklift Accidents

Forklift Accidents Gone Viral

Odds are, you’ve seen them. You know, those viral forklift accident videos? A forklift takes on a load too heavy and capsizes in slow motion. A driver takes it too close to the edge of the dock and tumbles over. A pedestrian is minding his own business before getting pegged between the forks and the wall like an old episode of Tom and Jerry.

RELATED POST: Employee Participation in Safety

Or perhaps the most famous of all: a forklift driver attempts to pass a pallet jack, barely nicks the rack, and the whole warehouse comes tumbling down.

Forklift accidents happen all the time in warehouses and distribution centers around the world. Whether it’s because the driver isn’t paying attention or because the proper safety mechanisms aren’t in place, a forklift accident has the potential to cause costly damages to product, equipment, and personnel.

Don't Become the Next Viral Forklift Accident Video

Okay, so the odds of your facility becoming the set for the next popular forklift accident video are pretty slim. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities for something like what happened in the video above to occur in your operation. It all comes down to safety and awareness.

A few things you can do:

1. Train

Keep safety top of mind and encourage your employees to always be aware of their surroundings by training them on best practices in warehouses and distribution centers. Teach them the hazards to look out for as well as how to handle them. And don’t just train once; plan for regular safety refresher courses so safety is prioritized by every employee.

2. Keep the Conversation Going

Don’t just talk about safety and awareness in training. Keep the conversation going in the day to day. Encourage employees to actively monitor safety in the facility and speak up if they see something. Reward safe practices. Have management walk the floor and observe. Talk about it casually and professionally. Make sure that safety is a way of life in your operation and not just another checkbox to fill.

3. Watch Each Others' Backs

Enforce stop work authority in your facility and encourage a “see something, say something” culture. It’s not about calling people out; instead, it’s about making sure your employees are taking care of one another. Encourage your employees to ask for help when needed and to always be on the lookout for hazards in their own work environments as well as in their peers’ work spaces.

4. Get the Proper Protection

Not all facilities are created equal when it comes to safety, but there are certain steps you can take to make sure your operation is outfitted for maximum protection:

    • Block Off and Mark Overhead Door Opening and Open Docks
    • Mark Off Pedestrian Walkways
    • Use Guardrail Around Modular Offices and Designated Pedestrian Walkways
    • Utilize Safety Cages when Applicable
    • Invest in Rack Protection
    • Conduct a Regular Safety Audit

A Culture of Accident Prevention

Ultimately, the most important step in preventing forklift accidents is creating a culture of safety and awareness. When each employee takes responsibility for his or her own safety as well as the safety of the operation as a whole, real accident prevention can begin.

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