Forklifts revolutionized warehouse and construction work. They improved efficiency and eased at least some of the physical duties of workers.
Despite their many advantages, forklifts bring a lot of risks to both those operating them and those surrounding them. Driving forklifts comes with some dangers, as does merely being in the same space as them. Here are some key risks to be aware of:
Poor or improper training
According to OSHA, only trained and certified workers are able to operate a forklift. Untrained or poorly trained workers can pose a significant risk in the workplace.
Any kind of reckless operation of the forklift can lead to danger and one of the biggest risks is speeding. Forklift operators must adhere to the proper speed limit of the machine and maintain constant vigilance of their surroundings.
Blind spots can pose a risk to forklift operators and those around them. Operators should always have clear visibility of the area around them. A clear understanding of the layout of the workplace is important, so operators must understand areas where visibility may be lower and extra caution is required.
It is sometimes necessary to travel with a load high off the ground to move past an obstacle. If the ground is uneven or the operator turns or brakes too sharply, it could put the load off balance and tip the machine. Forklifts can also pose a tipping risk if the load is too heavy or unevenly balanced on the machine.
Lastly, ensuring the forklift is clean, properly maintained and in safe operating condition is critical. Any forklift found to be in poor condition should be removed from service and either repaired or replaced.
If you are injured by a forklift, you could face considerable time off work and significant medical bills. Understanding how to claim workers’ compensation benefits will be crucial.