- See a summary of Key Forklift Accident Statistics
- Learn about the most common causes of accidents
- Useful tips to avoid accidents in future
If you work in a warehouse, then you know just how dangerous forklifts and other industrial vehicles can be. Every year, there are thousands of forklift accidents that result in forklift injuries or forklift fatalities. In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of forklift accidents and provide some tips on how to avoid them. We will also look at some shocking forklift accident statistics to show just how serious this problem is.
Why Can Forklifts Be Dangerous?
There are many reasons why forklifts can be dangerous. First of all, they are large and heavy machines that can cause serious injuries if they hit someone. Secondly, they are often used in busy warehouses where there are lots of people walking around. This means that there is a greater chance of an accident happening. Finally, forklifts often carry heavy weights which can fall off and injure people if the forklift driver is not extremely careful. Warehouse safety has to be a top priority for all employers in the supply chain industry, regular safety audits are not just a good idea they are the law as of the very first warehouse safety legislations being published in 1977.
Related: 17 Must-know Forklift Safety Tips to Avoid Catastrophe >
The Main Causes Of Forklift Accidents
There are several main causes of forklift accidents. The most common cause is worker error. This includes things like driving at excessive speeds, not paying attention, and being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Another common cause of accidents is mechanical failure. This can be due to a faulty forklift or a problem with the warehouse itself. Finally, poor training can also lead to accidents happening.
Key Forklift Accident Statistics
- In the United States over 1000 people died in forklift related accidents from 1980 to 1994. (OSHA)
- In 2021, 123 people were killed in forklift related accidents in the UK. (HSE)
- Forklift overturns account for 25% of all forklift related injuries. (British Safety Council)
- 95 People receive physical injuries in forklift accidents every day in the United States. (OSHA)
- 36% of forklift fatalities involve pedestrians. (OSHA)
- 11% Of all Forklift accidents Involve a worker being crushed by a forklift. (OSHA)
- Forklift accidents in a warehouse account for 30% of all forklift accidents. (HSE)
The Most Common Types Of Forklift Accidents
Now we know a little more about why forklifts can be dangerous and the most common causes of accidents, let’s take a look at which accident types occur most and some shocking statistics that prove just how common these accidents can be!
Forklift And Pedestrian Collisions
Forklift and pedestrian collisions are one of the most common accidents which occur in a busy warehouse environment. A shocking 36% of forklift fatalities are pedestrian workers! Forklift trucks can weigh up to three times more than a car and forklifts can travel at speeds of up to 18 mph, making the chances of serious injuries for a pedestrian that is struck by a forklift extremely high.
Tips To Reduce Forklift And Pedestrian Collisions
Several things can be done to reduce the chances of a forklift and pedestrian collision. First of all, employers should ensure that there are marked pedestrian worker walkways in the warehouse. Secondly, pedestrians should be made aware of the dangers of walking in front of forklifts and should be given proper training on how to stay safe around them and workers should always be wearing high visibility clothing whilst working in a warehouse. Finally, forklift operators should be given training on how to drive safely around pedestrians and should always be aware of where they are.
Forklift overturns are the most common forklift accident and account for around 25% of all forklift accidents. This type of accident usually occurs when the forklift is over its weight capacity or driving on an uneven surface. The load can shift and cause the forklift to tip over, resulting in serious injuries for the operator.
Tips To Prevent Forklift Overturns
There are many things which can be done to prevent forklift rollovers. First of all, managers should carry out daily inspections and make sure that any mechanical faults are fixed as soon as possible. Secondly, forklift operators should be given training on how to safely carry loads and drive on uneven surfaces. Finally, employers should ensure that the warehouse is free from any potential workplace hazards which could cause a forklift to overturn and ensure operators always wear seat belts.
Another common forklift accident is a falling load. This can happen if the load is not properly secured or if the forklift worker is not carefully following the speed limits and warning signs when driving. Falling loads can cause severe injuries to anyone who is hit by them, as well as property damage. The occupational safety and health administration (OSHA’s) estimate that 70% of forklift injuries and forklift related deaths could be avoided by better forklift operator training!
Tips To Prevent Falling Loads
There are a few things which can be done to prevent loads from falling, the first being a comprehensive training programme on how to load a forklift. Secondly, forklift loads should always be properly secured and operators should never carry tall loads or loose loads if they don’t feel safe. Finally, forklift operators should always follow the speed limit and warning signs when driving.
Industrial trucks have large blind spots and this can often lead to accidents occurring. If the forklift operator is unable to see someone in their blind spot, then they could run into them, causing serious injuries or even death. Modern electric forklifts sometimes have blind spot monitoring systems which vastly increases the safety of these machines. An average of 95 people are injured in a forklift accident every day and a fatal accident occurs on average once every 4 days!
Tips To Prevent A Blocked View
There are many things which can be done to prevent a blocked view some of the easiest to implement are: managers should ensure that the storage environment is well-lit so that forklift operators can see clearly. Secondly, mirrors should be placed on all forklifts so that the worker can see behind them. Finally, Operators should be given training on how to check their blind spots and how to carry elevated loads before moving the forklift. Industrial truck operators should only travel in directions they can see and ask for assistance in tricky situations!
Mechanical failures cause fewer accidents today than in the past due to the new laws that companies have to follow, but accidents still occur when mechanical failures happen. The term mechanical failure includes defects in the design, manufacture, and maintenance of the forklift. Improper maintenance and incorrect fuel mixtures are the most common cause of mechanical failures. In proper maintenance accounted for just 14 of 247 industrial truck incidents reported to OSHA.
Tips To Prevent Mechanical Failures
There are not many things which can be done to prevent mechanical failures provided you are doing regular checks, but here are a few: employers should ensure that forklifts are regularly serviced and that any mechanical faults are fixed as soon as possible. Secondly, Daily inspections should be carried out on the forks, rear wheels, lights, horn, brakes and any other safety features of the tuck. Finally, employees should be trained so the right fuel mixture is always used.
The Impact Of Forklift Accidents On The Warehousing Industry
Forklift accidents can have a huge impact on the warehousing industry. They can cause damage to property, injuries to employees, and even death. This can lead to companies having to pay out compensation, as well as incurring legal costs. In some cases, workplace injuries can even lead to warehouses being shut down. This is why safe forklift operation and the training of forklift operators has to be of the highest possible standard to avoid forklift related incidents at every possible opportunity. Investing in safety protocols and having stringent training policies in place will always provide a good return on investment for companies that work with industrial vehicles.
Over the past couple of year forklift accidents have dropped due to the new safety equipment and safety programs that are being implemented by modern warehouses, this being said there is still a massive amount of work that has to be done to improve warehouse safety standards and keep employees safe!