Recently, Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) issued a Worker Hospitalization Alert concerning a forklift-related incident. This event epitomized a preventable accident and offered a valuable lesson for future prevention.
In this incident, the injured worker and the forklift driver were inattentive to their surroundings. Both employees demonstrated a lack of safety awareness, and the employer revealed a lack of caring and a sub-par concern for providing a safe workplace. The employer had also disabled the forklift’s built-in backup alarm—an important safety measure that would have alerted workers to oncoming danger. The behaviors of all three’s negligence led to a serious accident.
Preventing tragedies like these is essential. Maintaining and not disabling or modifying safety alert systems on forklifts or other powered industrial trucks is crucial. Drivers must be trained to always stay alert and ensure they can see where they are driving. Additionally, pedestrians should avoid passing through or lingering in zones where drivers may be operating.
Forklift-related injuries should be taken seriously. The National Safety Council reports that 7,290 nonfatal forklift accidents led to missed work time, with a median of 17 days off per incident. That translates to almost a million hours of lost productivity for businesses in the United States in 2020.
Here are some helpful resources:
- RS Safety TV has several videos about forklift safety.
- RS Library has a Forklift Safety Guide for reference.
Our safety team is available to help members take their safety program from compliance to quality safety practices. Contact us at 360-943-9198 x122 or email [email protected] to learn more.