Understanding how to reduce forklift accidents is important, because it is equipment that, if not operated by trained professionals, can become dangerous and cause serious accidents at work, civil and labor lawsuits.
We know that the forklift is a work equipment whose function is to load and unload goods on pallets. The operator, on the other hand, is the professional who is daily exposed to numerous adverse conditions. In this way, for him and everyone around him to be safe, some actions must be put into practice regarding the performance of the activity.
Check out, below, some tips on how to reduce accidents with forklifts, as well as examples of the most common accidents with the equipment and what problems your company may face with accidents at work. Good reading!
What are ways to reduce forklift accidents?
Count only on certified operators:
The Regulatory Standard – NR11 establishes safety requirements and specific training for every worker who operates elevators, freight elevators, cranes, forklifts, winches, moving walks, among others.
Therefore, it is mandatory for the forklift operator who, after training – and if considered fit – receives a card containing full name, photo and date of medical examination. It is also recommended that the operator has a National Driver’s License (CNH), as experience in driving a car is essential.
Operators are exposed to hazards on a daily basis and need to be fully aware and responsible when operating the forklift. Putting a worker disabled to perform this work in addition to infringing NR11 is to assume a very big risk.
Perform preventive maintenance on forklifts:
It is very important to perform preventive maintenance on forklifts. Also instruct operators to check the status of the machine before starting work.
In daily inspections, check:
- Brakes, steering, clutch, gearbox and tires;
- Horn and alarms;
- Control and operation panel indicator lights;
- Safety equipment;
- Hoses, belts and cables;
- Mast and forks;
- Leaks in hydraulic systems or transmission.
- In periodic inspections, the following must be verified:
- lack of security features;
- obstructions that block the operator’s view;
- screws, pins, nuts and welds;
- ventilation currents;
- tilt when the load is lifted;
- fork level.
Take care of ergonomics:
The Regulatory Norm – NR17 establishes parameters that allow the adaptation of working conditions to the physiological characteristics of workers, in order to provide greater comfort, safety and efficient performance. Here are some tips to choose the forklift
The promotion of ergonomics in the work environment, more than meeting the legal aspects, provides benefits for companies. By creating a comfortable and safe environment — ergonomic — you increase productivity and reduce the incidence of accidents.
Still thinking about activities with forklifts, it is important to avoid the following conditions:
- Narrow aisles;
- Obstructions at intersections and doors;
- Disorganized and material-laden areas;
- Volume of traffic on the desktop;
- Ramps with different surfaces;
- Loading dock condition.
Promote regular safety training:
The company must promote regular training to talk about safety measures that must be observed daily, transport of heavy objects, use of equipment and tools, etc.
The operator must make training a regular practice in his daily work routine, aware that safe operation avoids possible damage to the vehicle, his life and the life of third parties, ensuring the safety of all.
However, accidents at work do not only occur due to the forklift operator, but also to pedestrians, therefore, employees who work or circulate in the same environment must participate in training so that safety is guaranteed.
Promote safety as part of the organizational culture:
The importance of safety culture in organizations is fundamental for accident prevention. The work safety legislation is very strict and the fines and punishments applied — to companies that do not comply — by the Ministry of Labor are very severe.
In this way, many managers are already realizing that more than complying with legislation, attention to work safety must be a strategic action with the objective of strengthening the team and promoting the company’s sustainable growth.
What are the most common accidents involving forklifts?
If you do not correctly follow the tips presented above, several accidents can occur during the operation of forklifts. Check out the most common ones below.
Overturning can happen due to the negligence of both the operator and those in charge and managers of the site. That’s because a forklift turns over, especially when there is excess weight on the pallets.
In addition, the accident can also occur when reckless maneuvers are carried out, due to the driver’s lack of experience or even obstacles in the way. In any case, a tipping over can seriously injure both the driver and people around the forklift.