Forklift accidents can happen very easily if the person operating the forklift is careless or not properly trained to use the vehicle. If you are using a forklift, you need to be careful and make sure that you use the equipment properly to avoid any potential dangers.
Forklift accidents are actually pretty common. OSHA, the government agency in charge of monitoring workplace safety, has calculated that there is a fatality from forklifts once every three days in the U.S. This is in addition to about 95,000 other injuries caused by forklifts every year. OSHA calculates that about 70% of these accidents could be avoided with proper safety training. (view statistics here). There's also an interesting site here that keeps track of news stories of forklift accidents, if you're interested in particular stories as a cautionary tale.
Accidents are a drag on both businesses and individuals. There are strong incentives for employers to take measures to eliminate this risk. First, there's a big chance of a lawsuit if anyone gets injured. Second, it's really easy to get rid of these risks, and they cut down on working time and can damage goods and the forklift in the process. Most injuries are caused by employees who don't know what they're doing. Employers should make sure that anyone operating the forklift has been trained to use it and is aware of all the potential risks. Don't let anyone who isn't trained operate the forklift. Develop proper forklift safety procedures and make sure they are posted where employees can read them.
Also make sure that your employees take any training seriously. Too often, people treat it as something they're forced to do and just go through the motions. You need to make sure your employees understand that they could easily get themselves killed if they mess around. You might show them some articles about people who have died by being careless. Here are a couple recent examples:
- an article about a guy who was working in the path of a forklift, fell down, and was crushed
- an article about a guy who drove too quickly with the lift up and flipped the forklift, killing himself
- an article about a guy who got off the forklift while he was operating it, and it rolled back and pinned him to a wall, killing him
- an article about a guy who lost his arm after it was pinned under a forklift. He saved another worker's life, but the person who had used the forklift left it facing a highway with the prongs out in the street. A truck hit them, knocking it backward and rolling onto him.
You should be seeing a pattern here. Pointless, easily preventable injuries that the employees could have avoided if they'd been trained a little more or had taken the machine a little more seriously. If you're an employer who has employees who horse around or don't care, use these stories as a little "motivation."