Forklift Safety On Mississippi Work Sites
Forklifts are indispensable pieces of equipment in manufacturing and at warehouses. They may look like something fun to operate, but they are no playthings.
According to an article by Safety and Health Magazine, the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 35,000 serious injuries and 62,000 non-serious injuries involving forklifts occur annually. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 96 workers were killed nationwide in incidents involving forklifts in 2015.
Multiple studies state that workers without proper training and knowledge of forklift operations who maneuver forklifts carelessly have an increased risk of injury or death. OSHA notes that a commitment to safety begins with proper precautions, saying that "an untrained forklift operator can be as dangerous as an unlicensed driver of a motor vehicle.'' OSHA requires training programs to combine formal instruction, such as lectures and written material, with practical training and workplace performance evaluation.
As mentioned in the Safety and Health article, Drew Kertzman, safety and health specialist with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, said "operators should be mindful of the differences between various types and models of forklifts."
"The gap that I've seen in the past is just presuming that once you are trained on one forklift you automatically know how to maneuver all forklifts,'' Kertzman said. "As you get larger and larger (forklifts), they operate differently, and you go from model to model, they are a little bit different.''
Operators are also urged to inspect their vehicles before each job, checking:
- Seat belts
- Backup alarms
- Fluid levels
- Moving and load-supporting parts of the forklift
OSHA also suggests operators should not lift or move loads that are not safe or stable. Other tips:
- Be aware of your surroundings on a job site.
- Use spotters or aids, such as rear-view mirrors, to boost visibility.
- Use headlights if working at night, outdoors or in areas in which additional lighting would improve visibility.
- Drive slowly in wet or slippery conditions.
- Slow down during turns and honk the horn upon encountering traffic.
- Wear appropriate safety gear, including a hard hat, safety shoes and high-visibility jackets. The work gear must be reasonably fitted as any loose clothing can get caught on machinery.
- Never exceed the speed limit.
If you've been hurt in a forklift accident, you have rights. Know that the attorneys at Tabor Law will be on your side, fighting for your rights in any work injury claim.