Last year we highlighted some of the most common injuries and accidents forklift drivers should look out for. And, as time goes on, experienced FLT operators are becoming more aware of the dangers of using a forklift.
But with more and more people training to become FLT operators, there is always the risk of encountering accidents. Both in and around the warehouse. So, it’s important to remind yourself of the dangers you could encounter when using a forklift truck. And lucky for you, we’re highlighting them in an updated list for 2020.
If you’re looking for top-quality training or refresher courses for forklift drivers, click here. If not, continue reading for the forklift injuries and dangers to avoid in 2020.
Hitting those around you with a forklift truck is more common than you may think. And, as comical as some viral videos make it look, these accidents are not to be laughed at. As the injuries they cause can be severe.
With low turning circles and surprisingly high speeds, FLT’s are nimble vehicles, which often takes people by surprise. Although often limited to a maximum of 10mph, getting hit by something that weighs between 2,000 and 4,500kg is going to hurt. And that’s without any goods being carried by the forklift, making it even heavier.
Worse still are the lifting forks of the truck itself. From personal experience, a relative of mine was involved in a forklift accident several years ago which still gives him problems now.
The operator of the forklift wasn’t paying attention and rushing to get the job done. Exceeding the speed limit, he struck my relative with the lifting forks whilst turning. Due to the resting level of the forks, they caught him just below the knee, severing muscles which required surgery to correct. After several months of resting and physiotherapy, he was able to walk again, but with a not-so-useful limp as a constant reminder. Not to mention the compensation paid out by the business, and the implications the FLT driver faced.
This is one example of an accident that happened because of a lapse of concentration. But the effects this accident caused were large and completely avoidable.
So, make sure you don’t encounter the same accident this year. Take your time and be aware of those around you, as well as making sure your co-workers are aware that a forklift is in operation. This will help to avoid any unnecessary dangers and accidents.
Tipping the Forklift.
Weight limits are there for a reason, but you’d be surprised how many people choose to ignore these in order of getting the job done faster. But ask yourself this – will the job get done faster overall if the forklift tips over?
Imagine it as though you have to carry the shopping from the car to the kitchen. You’ve got lots of items, but only two bags to use. If you carry too much in the bags, they’ll split and break, meaning you have to carry everything in by hand, making the whole scenario twice as long. Of course, this is an analogy. The bags are the forklifts, the shopping is the goods you’re moving, and you are the operator. Only, in the shopping scenario, it’s the shopping that’s at risk if you carry too much at once. When operating a forklift, it’s your co-workers, the goods, and you that are all at risk.
Tipping an FLT can result in serious injury or, in some cases, death. It’s a serious hazard, and that’s why the weight limits are there. Alongside this, you can also help to avoid this by driving safely and sensibly. If you need refresher courses on how to operate a forklift safely, click here.
Make sure not to become a victim of tipping a forklift this year. As not only do you put people at risk, but you may also become the victim of another scenario – viral videos.
Other Factors to Consider.
Here are a few other factors you should consider when operating a forklift. They’re not dangers as such, but they can cause accidents to happen if not taken into consideration. Acknowledging these before you take to the wheel of an FTL will help to avoid injuries and dangers occurring.
Ignoring Your Health.
It’s common for workers to operate forklifts when the operator is feeling a little worse for wear. Often because they think “It’s just a forklift, it’s not like driving a car”. In some ways, they’re right. You wouldn’t see a forklift driving along the m25. But, they’re also wrong, as operating a forklift when you’re tired or unwell can be as dangerous as driving a car in the same conditions.
As I’m sure you know, a forklift truck is a dangerous piece of equipment, and should only be operated by trained members of staff. However, being trained to use the equipment doesn’t qualify you to use the equipment regardless of your condition. If you’re tired, in pain, unwell, or anything similar, you should consult your manager or a member of management. As operating any kind of forklift in these conditions can result in serious injury. Not only for yourself but those around you.
So, before you step into the driver’s seat, consider your health – are you fit enough to drive the forklift with maximum concentration? Asking yourself this question may be the difference between your career as an FLT operator, and 2020 being your last year driving forklifts.
This is a subject we will cover in more depth in the coming weeks. However, before you begin to operate any type of FLT, consider your clothing. A hi-vis jacket and sturdy boots with grip are a must, whilst ensuring your clothes aren’t restricting your movement.
This often comes down to management and workplace policy. Your employers may ask you to wear certain clothing whilst operating a forklift. So, it’s important that you always check before starting.
There you have it, some dangers, accidents, and injuries to avoid this year. But remember that not all forklift accidents are avoidable. Sometimes, factors outside of your control can lead to an accident or injury, and nobody is to blame. But, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid any additional risk when using these dangerous machines.
If you do encounter an accident or incident this year, you should always follow the correct safety procedures. Contact your manager or supervisor and ensure co-workers in the surrounding area are aware of the incident.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe!
For more blogs on Forklift driving and FLT’s, click here.