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December 30, 2009
Forklift Safety Tips

Every year 100 workers are killed and thousands seriously injured in forklift accidents. OSHA has strict requirements for forklift operators. Follow these forklift safety tips to prevent accidents and injuries:

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  • Operators must receive thorough training, evaluation, and testing.
  • Forklifts must be inspected for safety before each shift.

Over one-quarter of forklift accidents are the result of a lift tipping over.

  • Drivers should always wear seat belts to prevent being thrown out and crushed if the vehicle falls over. In case of a tipover, the vehicle's frame will offer protection.

Excess loads can cause the forklift to be top-heavy and tip over.

  • Never load a truck beyond its rated capacity.
  • Make sure the load is secure before moving.

Forklift operators should always watch out for other people on foot. Their visibility may be partially blocked by the load or the vehicle itself.

  • Whenever they reach an intersection or other location where vision is obstructed, they should always slow down and sound the horn.
  • Never drive up to anyone standing in front of a fixed object--even an unloaded forklift can easily weigh twice as much as the average auto and cannot stop quickly. Many accidents are caused by a load or debris falling on a worker.
  • Loads should be placed as far back by the mast as possible--not forward--for extra stability.
  • No person should be allowed to stand or pass under the forks, whether they are loaded or empty.

Forklifts do not operate the same as an automobile--most forklifts steer from the rear. This means that the back of the forklift swings wide on a turn.

  • Always drive, turn, and stop slowly and smoothly.
  • Sudden turns can throw a forklift off balance, especially when it is loaded.
  • Drivers should slow down on grades, ramps, or inclines.

You can prevent forklift accidents--use these forklift safety tips and always follow the safety rules.

Other Forklift Safety resources:

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