OSHA Forklift Safety Rules

OSHA Forklift Safety Rules

Why are forklift safety rules critical for the warehousing industry? Forklifts cause 85 deaths and 34,900 serious injuries every year. And the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) says that up 25% result from inadequate training. Always make sure your forklift operators know these important guidelines before handing over the keys.

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There are numerous dangers associated with forklifts that pose a potential threat to warehouse workers. Here are eight common forklift hazards and tips for mitigating them, according to OSHA.   

Forklift Hazards and Safety Tips

1. Getting in and out of the vehicle – It's easy for forklift operators to fall or hit their head on the cage when they are entering or exiting. Important rules to remember include:

  • Checking your shoes for any slippery substances before mounting or dismounting
  • Making sure you have a firm grip and solid footing
  • Wearing the appropriate shoes

2. Starting and Stopping  Starting and stopping a forklift can potentially harm the driver and pedestrians if the driver is not careful. Important rules to remember include:

  • Making sure your path is clear before starting the forklift and honk the horn to warn any nearby pedestrians
  • Driving slowly and watch for blind spots
  • Not slamming on the brakes
  • Always using the parking brake
  • Chocking wheels when you park on an incline

3. Driving  Driving too fast can lead to collisions and cause the vehicle to tip over. Rules to remember include:

  • Not speeding—follow all signs and regulations
  • Never carrying passengers
  • Keeping extremities inside the vehicle at all times
  • Driving slowly on wet floors
  • Honking the horn before proceeding when visibility is limited
  • Avoiding running over loose objects

4. Steering and turning  Steering and turning can cause the forklift to tip over. Important rules to remember include: 

  • Fully stopping before changing directions—allow plenty of room for pedestrians
  • Looking behind you when driving in reverse
  • Slowing down when you turn
  • Not turning with raised forks
  • Not turning on a grade

5. Driving on inclines  Driving on an incline requires extra caution. Important rules to remember include:

  • Forks should always point up the grade—drive in reverse on a downgrade
  • Always facing the direction you are traveling
  • Not turning the forklift on a grade

6. Parking – An improperly parked forklift runs the risk of being hit or rolling into pedestrians or objects. Important rules to remember include:

  • Always parking on a level surface and in authorized areas
  • Always using the parking brake
  • Always removing the key from the ignition
  • Not jumping off of the forklift after parking

7. Visibility  Visibility issues can also cause dangerous accidents. Important rules to remember include:

  • Equipping forklifts with headlights, mirrors and other visual aids
  • Not driving near the edge of loading docks and other drop-offs.
  • Ensuring any dangerous areas are clearly marked and blocked by physical barriers or guardrails

8. Tipping over – A forklift tipping over has the potential to crush employees. 42% of all forklift fatalities are caused by the vehicle tipping over and crushing someone. In the event a forklift you are driving tips over:

  • Stay in the forklift and hold on to the steering wheel
  • Brace your feet and lean forward
  • Lean away from the side of impact

For more information on warehouse and forklift safety, check out our blog. And to learn more about how our asset protection products can help you prevent warehouse accidents, contact us today. 

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Sources:

OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=13456

OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/pit/operations/maneuvering.html

Did you know that there are 23,000 on the job injuries every day, in the United States alone? Or that damage from forklift collisions often requires multiple, expensive repairs?

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