Why Forklift Safety Training Is Important

Why Forklift Safety Training Is Important

Forklift safety is something that you would think is obvious, considering that forklifts are fairly large machines with several moving parts and considerable power. However, when looking at the numbers, forklifts cause around 85 fatalities a year, almost 35 thousand accidents which result in serious injury, and another 61 thousand resulting in non-serious injuries. These numbers are pulled from OSHA. According to the Industrial Truck Association, there are currently around 855 thousand forklifts in the United States. This means that over 11% of all forklifts in the country will be involved in some type of an accident within the next year. This is an alarmingly high number and makes us wonder if workers are being trained properly on how to operate forklifts, or if they are are simply being ignorant and do not necessarily follow best practices when operating them even though they’ve been trained correctly. The ITA has also reported that the average lifespan of a forklift is around 8 years, which means around 90% of all forklifts will be involved in an accident sometime during their useful life. Regardless of what is causing the problem, it is still apparent that this is a serious problem and needs to be addressed. If you are an operator of a forklift, then you have a very good chance of experiencing some type of accident during the course of your career. To help workers better understand the dangers of operating a forklift, we’ve put together this guide to help remind everyone why forklift safety training is so important.

Let’s take a look at the most common causes of fatal forklift accidents.

  • 42% of fatalities resulted from being crushed by the forklift tipping over. 
  • 25% of fatalities resulted from being crushed between the forklift and a different surface.
  • 11% of fatalities resulted from being crushed between two forklifts.
  • 10% of fatalities resulted from being struck or run over by a forklift.
  • 8% of fatalities resulted from being struck by falling material from a forklift.
  • 4% of fatalities resulted from falling from the platform on the forklift.

forklift safety training

Now let’s take a look at the most common locations and industries of fatal forklift accidents.

  • 42.5% of fatalities occurred while manufacturing.
  • 23.8% of fatalities occurred during construction.
  • 12.5% of fatalities occurred in the wholesale trade industry.
  • 11% of fatalities occurred in the transportation industry.
  • 9% of fatalities occurred in the retail trade industry. 
  • 1.2% occurred while mining.

As you can see, forklift fatalities occur in virtually every industry you can imagine that deals with manufacturing, mining, construction, or transportation of materials. Not only that, studies have indicated that a majority of these accidents could have been prevented with the proper forklift training, or simply just better training. Forklift safety training is important because drivers who operate forklifts without the proper training become immediate dangers to themselves and any other employees working in their area. Let us also remind you that is it required by OSHA that ALL operators of forklifts be properly trained. It is the LAW.

The proper forklift training will reduce, or even prevent, accidents from happening on the job site. It will also train operators on how to deal with elevated loads that can possibly tip the forklift over. Prevent tip-over accidents by keeping the load as low as possible. This will increase the forklift’s stability and will significantly reduce the chances of an accident occurring. One important thing to note is that a lot of fatalities resulted from the operator or driver jumping from the forklift as it was tipping over. DON’T EVER JUMP FROM A TIPPING OVER FORKLIFT! If the forklift starts to tip over, STAY WITH THE VEHICLE! Your chances of surviving while staying in the forklift buckled up are much, much greater.

With over 11% of all forklifts getting into accidents a year, and over 90% of all forklifts getting into accidents within their 8 year lifespan, forklift safety training should not be taken lightly. It is imperative not only to your own safety, but to your coworkers’ as well.

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About The Author
Brett Gordon is a writer for Safety Partners, LTD.

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