Forklift safety starts with being observant and aware at all times. Forklift operators and facility managers should always be diligent about caution in the workplace and when operating any piece of material handling equipment.
Completing daily safety checklists is the first step (and required by OSHA) to ensuring that your forklift is suitable for use. Failing to implement safety procedures puts your entire facility at risk for safety violations, production loss, and worst of all, the possibility of serious injuries.
Even a small mechanical forklift issue warrants attention. Taking the time to assess the problem in the present means preventing bigger issues in the future. Here are some common mechanical, operational, and design problems that may cause a forklift accident:
- Brake malfunction
- Steering malfunction
- Operator distraction
- Exceeding load limits
- Electrical, engine, and/or battery malfunctions
- Environmental hazards
- Chain problems
- Mast defects
- Tire defect or excessive wear
Maintaining a consistently safe workplace is an OSHA requirement. Workplace hazards, accidents, and unacknowledged equipment faults can result in fines upwards of $12,000 for the first violation. Faulty equipment that does not meet manufacturer and OSHA standards is subject to fines. Think twice before ignoring what may seem like a small defect!
Regular preventative maintenance is typically less expensive than damage repairs. It’s estimated that forklift damage can total up to 5% of the cost of the forklift. When you consider these costs for an entire forklift fleet, you’re looking at potentially thousands of dollars for unnecessary expenditures that could have been avoided with proper forklift inspection and care.
Driving a damaged forklift, no matter how minor the defect, has serious potential to hinder production and profit. Over time, the wear and tear of an already defective forklift results in major damage to product, people, or both. The likelihood of forklift accidents greatly increases when driving a damaged forklift.
When you add up cost of a forklift accident, OSHA fines, time managing the case, workers’ compensation, and accident investigation, those costs can add up to a six-figure fix. Loss of time, profit, and production can make it incredibly difficult for smaller businesses to bounce back.
How to Reduce Forklift Accidents & Violations
Having properly trained forklift operators and implementing common-sense guidelines ensures the safety of your workplace. A rundown of basic forklift rules includes:
- Completing a forklift inspection before use
- Choosing the right forklift for the job
- Not speeding when driving or loading
- Not exceeding load limitations or navigating narrow aisles with a standard forklift
- Exercising caution and awareness of surroundings at all times
- Having a proper lockout/tagout procedure in place for damaged MHE
The Forklift Pro Inspection Process
The Forklift Pro’s goal is to provide quality used equipment to our dealers, which means our material handling equipment goes through a rigorous inspection before being listed in our inventory. We always welcome questions about any of our used forklifts, as well as a full tour of our facility. Contact us today about buying/selling used material handling equipment.