Looking at the growth of manufacturing, logistics and warehouse industries in Australia, one can confidently say that forklifts are here to stay. Whether it is a work related to warehouse, factory or other job site, forklifts can be a great tool for completing tasks effectively. However, with every heavy machinery, there is a risk of accidents involved. Forklifts are big, heavy and fast moving which make them more vulnerable to accidents. In Australia, thousands of people are injured every year by forklifts, chief reasons being negligence or untrained forklift operators. That is why, Safe Work Australia has set regulations for Forklift hire Sydney to ensure working conditions are safe. However, due to malfunctioning equipment, lack of attention while operating and inadequate training still result in a lot of forklift related accidents. Safe Work Australia has revealed figures stating that in the span of 13 years, from 2003 to 2016, 3414 workers have died in Australia. Out of them, 39% deaths were caused due to vehicle collisions. Aussie forklift believes that prevention is always better than the cure and accidents involving forklifts too can be averted with proper training and vehicle maintenance.
1. People unaware of nearby forklift:
Many times, pedestrians collide with a forklift truck coming around the corners or driving through intersections due to their absentmindedness. Drivers should be very attentive at such junctures and blow horns more frequently to alert the pedestrians. Warning lights should be fixed with the vehicles and there should be automated backup alarms for any unwanted situation. Marking designated danger zones with floor tape and signs is another effective way of preventing accidents.
2. Forklift tip over:
Forklifts are already top-heavy. When they carry heavy and raised pallets, their centre of gravity moves even higher. That is why, many forklift trucks trip over while taking a turn. If the truck is carrying a heavy load, the driver should slow down at turns else it could result in an accident.
3. Challenge of driving with an elevated load:
Another reason for forklifts tipping over is palletized load on an upper shelf of the vehicle. Driving a forklift with raised load is dangerous. It restricts forklift’s movement and reduces driver’s visibility. In such a situation, a forklift truck is likely to tip over. As per Federal regulations, drivers have to keep the load as low to ground as possible. The ideal situation is 4 inches above the road surface.
4. High Speed:
With an intention to do more tasks in less time, many IPG forklift drivers drive forklifts at higher than recommended speed. The reaction time is too less when the forklifts are moving fast which can result in accidents in no time. It is strictly advised to drive forklifts at the speed below 5 miles per hour. Speed limit signs should be posted to constantly remind the driver to slow down.
5. Lack of proper training:
It has been observed that accidents occur when forklifts are being driven by inexperienced and ignorant drivers. It is important to impart proper training to drivers to help them understand the risks involved in operating heavy machinery at populated spaces. Drivers should be properly trained before taking up the job. Not only this, telehandler hire Sydney should ensure that the drivers are recertified every three years to affirm they are abiding by forklift rules and regulations.
6. Fatal accident due to heavy load:
Sometimes when a forklift is loaded more than its capacity, the heavy load can fall on the pedestrian and literally crush a person. In several cases, forklift tips over due to heavy burden and the driver gets severely injured.
7. Driver falls off the forklift:
Riding a fully loaded forklift involves a lot of risk. If the load is unbalanced, there are chances that the driver might just fall off the vehicle and create a bizarre accident. That is why forklifts have to be driven very carefully only by the trained drivers.
8. Colliding with debris:
In some cases, due to lack of visibility, the forklift can run over debris and topple over. In forklift accidents, colliding with obstructions can cause major injuries. That is why the operator has to make sure the area is clear before starting the work.
There are several reasons that make forklifts vulnerable to accidents. To understand the gravity of the situation, let us have a look at the figures of how many people are injured in Australia due to forklift accidents.
Incidents reported annually:
Work Safe Australia reports that from 2003 to 2015, 68 deaths were caused due to forklift accidents which is 2% of work-related fatalities across Australia. The most common reason is forklifts being hit by a moving object. It is worth noticing that injuries affect workers’ abilities to work. Enterprise has to bear expenditure of compensation and their medical leave. In some cases, companies are fined as high as $500,000 in an accident involving forklifts. That is why, it is crucial to appoint trained drivers to operate forklifts.
Tips to prevent accidents:
With little more vigilance, forklift accidents can be prevented. For example, when forklift tips over for one reason or the other, in many cases, drivers jump off the truck. This leads to serious injury. Forklifts are very heavy and if it lands on the driver, it can break bones or create even a worse situation. Here we are sharing some tips that can help drivers prevent accidents:
Make sure you slow down before taking a turn. Driver must rotate the steering wheel slowly.
- In order to keep the load stable, lower them forks and tilt them back.
- Avoid heavy loads to ensure stability of the vehicle. Heavy loads, if not angled properly, can cause vehicle to topple over.
- Never load the forks more than its capacity.
- Consider the shape and size of the load while driving. If it is tall and wide, the driver should move it very carefully and slowly.
- Rough driving cannot be tolerated when it comes to forklifts. Supervisors should punish the driver in case of indiscipline. Forklift trucks are heavy and unstable. Driving it roughly can put the lives of the driver, other employees and pedestrians at risk.
- Drivers must take care of pedestrians even if they are walking on the forklift driving path.
- Drivers should look in all the directions, backward and forward, blind spots and intersections to drive carefully. Whenever required, they should blow horns.
- Those employees who are not operating forklift should stay away from the machine even when it is not working.
- Even the forks are empty, no employee should be allowed to walk beneath when the forks are lifted.
Forklifts are extremely useful tools but the operator should never underestimate the risk involved and drive the vehicle with extreme care.