What Are the Main Causes of Forklift Accidents?
Forklift accidents and forklift injuries happen far too often. After all, forklifts are heavy-duty machines that can weigh anywhere between 3,000 and 20,000 pounds. They must balance heavy loads in tight areas, and lift those materials to high places. That is quite simply - dangerous.
Of course, the most serious forklift accidents are those that result in death. According to the United States government, 75 to 100 workers are killed annually in forklift accidents. 36% of those forklift-related deaths happen to pedestrians who just happen to be in the vicinity when something goes wrong.
The statistics related to forklift injuries are even more startling. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that forklifts cause between 35,000 and 62,000 injuries.
There are financial implications for any company that has to deal with a forklift accident. According to the National Security Council, employees injured by forklifts cannot work for an average of 17 days after a forklift accident.
And then there are other hidden costs, including revenue losses during the investigation period, legal fees, and medical reimbursements.
ELOKON’s mission is to reduce - if not eliminate - forklift accidents and injuries.
Our lift truck driver-assistance systems use the latest sensor technologies to ensure the safety of workers, pedestrians, materials, and property.It’s tempting to think that your operation is so safe, and your forklift drivers are so well trained, that a forklift injury would never occur in your facility. But all heavy machinery carries dangers. Statistics show that if your business has 10 or more forklifts, a forklift injury – hopefully, nothing too serious – is going to happen at least once per year.
Of course, you don’t want that to happen. The best way to reduce incidents is to examine the main causes of injuries when using forklifts.
The causes of forklift accidents and injuries:
- Forklifts easily tip over. For example, if a forklift operator puts too much material on the machine, exceeding its capacity, the forklift can become unbalanced. Even if the material doesn’t exceed capacity, braking or turning changes the machine’s center of gravity, causing a tip-over.
- It’s hard to drive a forklift. Because materials are carried in the front of a forklift, the driver’s view is obstructed. Even the best-trained operators may simply not see pedestrians or other workers.
- It’s hard to regulate speed. Although forklifts can only hit speeds of 18 mph, they only have brakes in the front, which makes it harder for the vehicles to stop. And if a forklift operator hits the brakes too fast, this can shift what the machine is carrying, causing a tip-over. The brakes may also simply not be applied in time.
- Poor communication between the driver and others in the vicinity of the forklift can cause forklift injuries. Communication isn’t just about what the driver yells at people nearby when the machine is moving. Sometimes, there isn’t enough communication at the start of a workday. Other times, drivers and nearby workers fail to make use of eye contact and hand gestures.
How Can You Decrease the Likelihood of Forklift Accidents and Injuries?
The good news is that forklift injuries and fatalities don’t have to keep happening, or at least happen so often. OSHA believes that about 70% of forklift accidents could be prevented if companies implement the right technology and tools.
Here, we explain how just a few of our many material handling tools can prevent some causes of forklift injuries and forklift accidents.
1. Our app-based ELOfleet forklift fleet management system ensures that only trained, authorized drivers are operating forklifts. A forklift cannot be operated unless drivers log into a smartphone on the machinery, using their company RFID card. For organizations with data privacy concerns, an anonymous PIN-based login is also an option. The system provides three authorization levels:
- Normal drivers
- Maintenance personnel
2. ELOshield, a sensor detection system, warns forklift drivers when something or someone is too close. The system also lets those in the vicinity know a forklift is near them by making loud noises, flashing lights, and sending out vibrations through a pedestrian module. You can either mount a shield on a forklift or install a shield at a fixed point that forklifts regularly drive through.
3. Our ELOspeed driver-assistance system automatically regulates the speed of forklifts. It allows the machines to work at top speed outdoors but slows them down as they come inside. The tool works by sensing what’s above the forklift. If it senses a sky, the system knows the forklift is outdoors. But if it senses a ceiling, it recognizes that it’s indoors. The technology is advanced enough to recognize the difference between a tree, which is outdoors, and a beam, which is indoors.
We hope you reach out to us to talk about your needs. At ELOKON, we help you figure out what products you need, install and launch them. We then guide you through using these tools. Warehouses, construction sites, and other places where forklifts are used can be safer. We hope to work with you to achieve this goal.