Forklift with tynes in the air

Forklifts are consistently one of the most dangerous workplace hazards. In fact, OSHA ranked forklifts the 7th most cited hazard across all workplaces. OSHA estimates there is a 90% probability of a forklift being involved in a serious injury or a fatal accident.  

While a number of operator or pedestrian mistakes can cause forklift accidents, one of the more common errors is improper fork placement. Fork placement refers to the height or the loading of the forks.

Improper fork placement accounts for 42% of all forklift fatalities. This includes 22% of fatalities caused by forklift overturns and 20% caused by a pedestrian struck by a forklift. 

However, many of these accidents are avoidable with the proper procedures in place. 

Tips for Forklift Fork Placement

Don’t Overload Capacity 

When loading a forklift, be sure to never load beyond the capacity the forklift can carry. Too much weight on the forklift can lead to equipment malfunctions or forklift turnovers. 

Also, each forklift has a different capacity, so drivers must make a note of the capacity with each different forklift operated. 

Maintain Balance 

Forklifts are top-heavy pieces of equipment that warehouses workers use to transport heavy items. This means there are two points of balance that need to be maintained. 

When a forklift is loaded, it is crucial to carry the load low and slightly tilted back. Operators should not raise or lower the forks while the forklift is in motion. Drivers should also take caution and slow down when navigating uneven surfaces, turns, or ramps. 

Additionally, manufacturers estimate it takes 15-20 feet for a forklift to stop from traveling at full speed. Drivers must take this space into account as they navigate hazards such as racks and pedestrians. 

Height is Important

Forklift operators must monitor the height of the forks on forklifts whether the machine is in motion or parked. 

As a driver is traveling on a forklift, they should hold the forks as low as possible without scraping the ground. Ideally, drivers should lift the forklift no more than six inches off of the ground. By keeping the forklifts low, drivers avoid vision impairment, and pedestrians have a lower risk of fatally colliding with the forks. 

Consider Larger Safety Changes

The HIT-NOT Proximity Alert System will make a significant impact on forklift safety within a warehouse. 

HIT-NOT is the most precise proximity alert system on the market. It alerts both drivers and pedestrians of potential hazards, and it alerts through walls, racks, and machinery. 

To learn more about warehouse safety technology or implement the HIT-NOT system in your workplace, contact SynTech