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How can forklift accidents be prevented?

Forklifts are convenient pieces of machinery that help warehouse and dock workers perform their jobs without burdening their bodies. Despite their convenience, forklifts are also very dangerous if not used properly. Employees who use forklifts should be properly trained and certified to do so. How can forklift accidents be prevented?

It is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that all those who use forklifts acquire the proper training prior to operating the machinery. Forklifts should be inspected annually to ensure that there are no parts broken that could lead to an accident. OSHA collects millions of dollars in fines annually for citations related to forklifts.

If a forklift is loaded improperly it can easily tip, causing an injury to the operator or any other employee on the ground. In order to prevent the forklift from tipping, it should be loaded properly. This type of accident accounts for 14 percent of all forklift accidents. The forklift operator should never attempt to lift another person.

All forklifts should be ventilated properly because they emit carbon monoxide, much like cars and trucks. There is an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when operating a forklift in an enclosed area.

Another common accident with forklifts is driving off the end of a loading dock. This type of accident accounts for 7 percent of all forklift accidents. Forklift operators should know how to properly drive a forklift, which includes the proper use of breaks, so they can prevent this type of accident. Other common causes of forklift accidents include control problems and vision issues.

When putting the forklift away for the night, make sure it is parked in its designated spot and not left in any other area. Be sure to remove the key so no one unauthorized to use the forklift will have access to it.

Operating a forklift is dangerous and should only be done by trained professionals. If you have been injured in a forklift accident, consider speaking with a workers' compensation attorney.

Source: Reliable Plant, "5 Tips for Preventing Forklift Accidents," accessed April 11, 2017

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