The largest number of workplace transport accidents involve forklift trucks (about 25%), some of which are fatal or cause serious injury. People are knocked down, run over or crushed against forklift trucks. People also fall from vehicles, whether getting on or off, working at height or when loading or unloading. Here we look at steps to avoid these sorts of accidents involving forklift trucks.
Key Actions to Take
- Look carefully at how forklift trucks and people move around your workplace
- Mark forklift truck and pedestrian movements on a plan to see where they interact
- Identify improvements that will reduce contact between pedestrians and forklift trucks
- Make sure you consider delivery drivers as they are particularly venerable
Keeping Pedestrians, Forklift Trucks and Drivers Safe
- Plan your workplace so pedestrians are safe from forklift trucks
- Provide a one-way system if you can
- Provide separate routes for pedestrians and forklift trucks where possible
- Avoid reversing where possible
- Provide appropriate crossing points where pedestrians and traffic meet
- Use ‘Highway Code’ signs to indicate vehicle routes, speed limits, pedestrian crossings etc
- Make sure lighting is adequate where people and forklift trucks are working
- Keep road surfaces firm and even
- Make sure there are safe areas for loading and unloading
- Be particularly aware of blind corners and provide appropriate signage
- Try to provide separate car parking for visitors as they may not know your site
Safe forklift truck
- Ensure forklift trucks are suitable for the purpose for which they are used
- Maintain forklift trucks in good repair, particularly the braking system, steering, tyres, lights, mirrors and specific safety systems like alarms
- Reduce the risk of falling when people have to climb onto a vehicle or trailer by providing well-constructed ladders, non-slip walkways and guard rails where possible
- Provide reversing aids such as CCTV and alarms where appropriate
- Fit rollover protective structures and use seat belts where fitted
Safe forklift driver
- Train forklift truck operators
- Reassess forklift truck operators at regular intervals, eg every 3 to 5 years, or when new risks arise such as changes to working practices
- Train drivers of other vehicles to a similar standard
- Make sure all drivers are supervised (including those visiting the site)
Forklift Truck Accident – A case study
A forklift truck operator was driving his truck in a yard that was poorly lit and did not have designated traffic lanes for either industrial trucks or vehicles. As the operator drove across the yard, a large industrial truck started to reverse into it.
The truck driver had checked his mirrors and, although the truck was fitted with reversing alarms, they failed to detect that the forklift was in its path. The truck hit the forklift, which tipped over onto its side. The forklift operator, who was not wearing a seat belt, was trapped underneath and killed.
How similar forklift truck accidents could be avoided:
- better lighting in the yard
- designated traffic lanes
- reversing alarms that work effectively
- wearing a seat belt
- One hundred and thirty-five workers were killed in work-related incidents in Great Britain in the last year, according to figures published recently by the Health and Safety Executive. Click here more information
- HSE has fine B Taylor & Sons Transport Limited £255,000 after a worker fell from a lorry and fractured his skull. The man, who was working as a delivery driver had been delivering glass to a customer when the incident occurred in Hinckley, Leicestershire. As no forklift truck was available, the man was passing panes of glass from a stillage in the lorry to another worker on the ground. The man then fell from the lorry, fracturing his skull, left hand, nose and right eye socket. He also sustained two bleeds on the brain, a 12 centimetre gash on his forehead and dislocated his right elbow. Click here for more information.
Wallace School of Transport including Forklift Training in London is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 60 years’ experience. You can be trained either at your own work site or at Wallace Centre in Park Royal. If you have any questions, call Wallace Forklift Training on 020 8453 3440, choose option 3 or click here to email us.