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How to Elevate Your Forklift Safety

How To Elevate Your Forklift Safety

Forklifts are extremely helpful, but they can also be extremely dangerous. An estimated 35,000 serious injuries and 85 deaths occur every year due to forklift accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Keeping the risk of injury or death low can be achieved by keeping forklift safety high, which you can do with continuous training.

Important Things to Remember about Forklift Safety

OSHA regulations are designed to improve workplace safety, but they don’t mean anything if your workers don’t know or heed them. Forklift operators must be at least 18 years old, as well as trained and certified in the specific type of forklift you use.

Ongoing safety training is a must to keep everyone up to date on forklift operation and best practices, and your training can go beyond OSHA requirements. Forklift operator performance only needs to be evaluated every three years, according to OSHA regulations, and refresher training is only required in the event of accidents, near-misses, or unsafe practices.

It can also be helpful to keep some of the most common forklift accidents in mind. They include

  • Poorly trained forklift operators
  • Speeding
  • Improper turns
  • Workplace conditions and design
  • Insufficient markings and warnings throughout the workplace
  • Loads blocking operator’s line of sight
  • Improperly balanced or insecure loads
  • Giving rides or riding anywhere on the forklift other than the seat with seatbelt on

Additional forklift hazards can involve driving off loading docks, falling between docks and unattached trailers, being struck by the vehicle, or falling from elevated pallets.

Stay Ahead of the Game

Staying ahead of the game means taking action to prevent forklift accidents before they occur. Preventative measures can make a huge difference in the safety of your workplace, with OSHA estimating 70% of forklift accidents could be prevented with more stringent training.

You can increase forklift training in the workplace a variety of ways. These include

Microlearning: Small, easily digestible learning experiences through videos, coaching, and short courses.

Mentoring: One-on-one support, guidance, and on-the-job advice from more experienced workers.

Reinforcement programs: Learning programs that systematically ensure workers receive a regular review of information.

Technological options:  Apps, online content, check-ins, learning management systems (LMS), and other software that introduces or reinforces essential information.

Why It’s Better to Stay Ahead Rather Than Fix Mistakes Later

Staying ahead of the game is much more advantageous than fixing mistakes later, especially when those mistakes can result in worker injury or death. In addition to a safer workplace for employees, preventative measures can likewise avert accidents that could result in damage to costly materials or inventory.

Your company also avoids receiving OSHA violations, which were increased by 78% in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The maximum penalty for serious violations rose from $7,000 to more than $12,000, while the top penalty for repeated violations went from $70,000 to more than $124,000.

Your company thus has substantial incentive to make regular forklift training part of your routine, with the ability to save money and well as lives.

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