It goes without saying that a forklift is an extremely dangerous item of machinery. You may not see many forklift accidents occur, but they are often the most serious accidents. With forklifts accounting for around 85 deaths each year, it would be naïve and ludicrous to not take safety precautions when operating a forklift. Not only that, but virtually 35,000 forklifting accidents result in serious injury each year, causing unimaginable pain and suffering to the victims and their families. Due to the fact that forklifts weigh up to 9,000 pounds and can travel at 18mph, we think it is a necessity that you read up on the different forklifting injuries and how to avoid them. Whether you undergo a forklift training course or merely read the below advice, your chances of being safe in and around a forklift will be heightened.
The most severe place you can damage is your head. Despite your head being solid, if it is injured it is almost always irreversible. That is why we have put head injuries at the top of our list. Despite being in a cage when driving a forklift, head injuries are very common. The cage you sit in can stop large objects falling on your head, but the gaps in the cage mean smaller objects can still fall through. As a result of sitting in the cage, you are also exposed to all angles except from above. Therefore, you must wear a hard hat to protect your head from any possible collisions or items falling on you. Also, if you have a spotter and are observant then your safety will be increased. However, if you do not act in a professional manner and are not spatially aware then wearing a hard hat may be in vain.
Whiplash is one of the worst injuries that a human can suffer from. Although it may seem like a common issue, the repercussions of whiplash can be fatal. Whether you are an expert or a rookie in forklifting, you will be susceptible to whiplash by even the smallest of accidents. Whiplash can be caused by sudden stops, collisions and several other ways. Due to the fact that forklifts are nimble machinery, they are vulnerable to these situations if care is not taken. Therefore, in order to avoid whiplash via forklifting, you should always be cautious, sensible and professional. On top of that, it would be advisory to have a spotter and to ensure you drive as slow as possible. Otherwise, whiplash will cause you pain in the shoulders, neck and you will become very tender.
Much to many people’s amusement, there are countless videos online of forklifts tipping over and the driver falling out. However, these accidents are far from funny. You may be able to get a few quid by sending a video to You’ve Been Framed of your friend falling out of a forklift, but the money won’t be enough to heal their injuries. Not only can these injuries hurt the driver but those in the forklift’s proximity are at danger also. These accidents can be caused via a few means: exceeding the forklift’s weight limit; driving too fast; taking corners too quick; not lifting goods correctly. If you make sure all goods are lifted and packaged correctly, then you’re off to a winner. Also, check that the goods are below the maximum carry weight, clear the pathway and wear a seatbelt to ensure maximum safety.
Imagine a machine that weighs 9,000 pounds rolling over your foot. Doesn’t sound very nice does it? It is for this reason why you must take as many precautions as possible to avoid any forklifting-related foot injuries. These injuries can be caused by a lack of communication from which the drivers view can be limited - it is especially hard for the driver to see at floor level. Those around the forklift, but not driving it themselves, must be aware of the routes the forklift takes and its working area. Any crossing off the forklift’s path could be catastrophic. Make sure everyone wears steel toecap boots but remember that these do not make your feet invincible.
Hopefully this advice has allowed you to make a more informed decision on your forklifting activities. We are merely informing you because we care. Nobody wants to see someone get hurt in any circumstance - let alone by a forklift! We hope to see you driving a forklift safely very soon.