Forklift Accident and the Importance of Safety and Maintenance

October 4, 2012

Several years ago a forklift accident in a warehouse setting left one casualty. The employee had his legs trapped under a steel beam that had fallen from a lift. Emergency crews had to use a crane to lift the beam off of the employee. Though the man was rushed to a nearby hospital, he later passed away due to the complications associated with the accident. He was only 39 years old.

Initially it was thought that a fallen crane was involved in the accident, but once an investigation was launched it was determined to be the spreader bar from the vehicle. OSHA Compliance was involved in the investigation and said it would take weeks before a final determination could be made.

Accidents and casualties in the workplace are avoidable by proper safety and equipment training. The first thing a driver should do is walk around the vehicle to make sure there is not a potential problem. Depending on the type of device being used, there are several checks that should be performed. Battery fluids and hydraulic oil need to be checked, hoses checked for damages and leaks, tires checked for proper inflation and lug nuts for tightness, fuel, fire extinguisher, just to name a few. A more extensive list can be found here.

A machine that is defective, or unsafe, should be taken out of service immediately. All problems need to be recorded on the appropriate documents and reported to the supervisor. Never operate a machine that requires maintenance or is unsafe. All repairs should be made by authorized personnel, do not attempt to fix the problem yourself unless you are trained and have authorization. Preventative maintenance should be performed according to the manufacturer.

Ensuring operators learn the proper measures result in fewer injuries, unnecessary costs and prolongs the life of the forklift.