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Act First Safety

Most workplace accidents are avoidable, especially when it comes to working with machinery. There are many common work-related factors that have the potential to cause accidents when working with forklifts. In addressing and analyzing these factors, we can predict which of these could cause accidents and eventually prevent future accidents from occurring.

Organizational factors that can contribute to forklift accidents:
– lack of training or improper training of forklift operators
– production factors such as speed or stress
– incompatible equipment for the task
– poor maintenance of forklifts

Behavioural and Operational factors that can contribute to forklift accidents:
– travelling too fast
– riding with the load elevated
– improper backing-up techniques
– improper turning, breaking, accelerating
– improper warnings to others
– poor communication during shared tasks, or in shared spaces
– ‘riding’ on the forklift
– parking improperly
– poor operator judgement; may include ‘fooling around’, lack of confidence
– lack of safety culture
Workplace design can contribute to forklift accidents:
– narrow aisles
– crowded, cluttered workspaces
– obstructions at intersections and doors
– volume of traffic in work area
– walking and working in the general area of forklift operations
– workplace conditions such as noise, odours, toxic gases, dust, poor lighting
– loading dock in poor condition
Mechanical conditions or design features that contribute to forklift accidents:
– malfunction of brakes, steering, clutch, transmission or mast assembly
– leaks in hydraulic systems or transmission
– safety devices lacking, inadequate, or malfunctioning
– emissions from forklifts
– blind spots or obstructions blocking driver’s view
– poor layout of controls and displays

Analyzing the contributing factors in your workplace should be done periodically to see if any of the items on this list have the potential to contribute to an avoidable incident involving a forklift. We work in environments that change continuously so regular analysis is required.

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