lift truck in a lumber warehouse

Forklift accidents are one of the leading causes of accidents and fatalities in the workplace.

In the past four years, 151 people in the United States died from forklift accidents, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that nearly 7,000 non-fatal accidents occur each year.

Jobs involving heavy machinery, such as forklifts, are consistently rated some of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Lumber facilities particularly were ranked among the second most dangerous job sites in the country in USA Today. 

These staggering statistics are reason enough to implement an effective forklift safety protocol, especially in the lumber industry.

Companies can take clear steps to improve the safety of heavy machinery. 

Five Tips to Improve Forklift Safety

1. Forklift Safety Training 

Only individuals who have been trained and certified according to OSHA standards should be allowed to operate a forklift. Employers should also encourage refresher courses and take the time to evaluate their employees every few years. Many companies can avoid accidents with proper forklift training. 

2. Pedestrian Collision Avoidance Technology

Products like HIT-NOT go a long way in preventing workplace injuries. HIT-NOT works on all types of mobile equipment and warns both pedestrians and forklift operators of potential dangers.

Even if a company follows all the other tips on this list, the company would still maintain a certain level of risk. Technology such as this is the only thing that can bring that risk down even more.

3. Floor Markings 

Floor markings are an OSHA requirement that workers can often undervalue. Companies must label physical and fire hazards as well as walking and working surfaces. Visual guidance such as these can serve as clear safety reminders for employees. 

4. Equipment Maintenance 

Employees should inspect forklifts daily to ensure quick identification of potential hazards. Inspections should include hoses, tires, seatbelts, forks and overhead guards, and brakes. Additionally, companies should reference the manufacturer’s guidelines for routine maintenance tasks.  

5. Enforce PPE 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can go a long way and prevent severe injury or fatality. In the case of an accident, hard hats and seatbelts can significantly improve the outcome. Other essential PPE items such as appropriate footwear and highly-visible clothing can aid in the prevention of accidents. 

Industries such as lumberyards are high-risk for a number of reasons, but forklift safety shouldn’t be one of them. SynTech creates and implements safety solutions designed for your industry.

Don’t wait for an accident to implement a state-of-the-art safety program. Contact SynTech today