Workers who operate forklifts in Missouri have certain safety standards they must follow, but employers must also meet basic requirements to protect workers. According to the Atlantic, a forklift can go as fast as 10 miles per hour and most weight more than three tons. This makes them a serious source of danger even as they assist in moving heavy objects. Almost 100 workers die every year in the United States from forklift accidents, while 20,000 are injured.
Forklifts are different than many other vehicles in that they need a wider sweep at the back of the vehicle because they steer from the rear. This takes practice and experience. Operators should know the machine’s lifting capacity and never exceed it. Any time the machine is operated, it should be checked for safety reasons. Any vehicle in need of repair or maintenance should not be driven and supervisors should be notified of any problems, questions, issues or concerns.
When mounting and dismounting a forklift, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration lists potential hazards as trips, falls and slips and hitting heads on the cage. When starting a forklift, operators should clear the way and sound the horn to warn anyone around. Dangerous blind spots can crop up so drivers may benefit from having a spotter.
When stopping the forklift, the driver should select a specific parking area. The forklift should be stopped slowly, controllers neutralized, parking brake set, and the ignition turned off. Wheels should be blocked anytime the machine is on an incline.
One of the most dangerous things that can happen is when a forklift turns over. If this happens, the driver should stay in the machine and hold to the steering wheel. They should also lean forward, away from the impact and brace their feet. Driver should always be wearing seatbelts when driving a forklift to protect from additional injuries.