Forklifts are an integral part of many business operations, utilized to raise and lower materials and objects. According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Statistics, the average forklift lost-time claim resulted in 67 days lost from work between 2003 and 2007. Since 2003, at least 18 workers have died resulting from incidents involving lift trucks, reach trucks, forklifts and tow motors (ministry statistics); moreover, according to data compiled by the Occupational Health and Safety Council of Ontario, 9,455 forklift related incidents involving a lost time injury took place between 1996 and 2008, representing an average of 727 incidents a year. The council identified a number of factors including: lifting devices striking objects during operation, workers being struck by forklift trucks, other lifting equipment and improperly secured loads, and lack of preventative maintenance and load capacity examinations.
Policies and Procedures
Needless to say, the importance of the safe operation of forklifts cannot be overstated. A number of elements are required to ensure the safety of workers, where forklifts are used within workplaces. Firstly, policies need to be set forth for both operators and pedestrians with respect to where forklifts and pedestrians will travel. Also, procedures for the safe operation of the equipment will be established including inspection and maintenance of equipment, and also lifting device load capacity.
Competency and Training
Competent training is essential to provide an understanding of the legal requirement, to understand hazards associated with a forklift, to understand procedures for safe operation, to learn about forklift stability including lifting of loads and capacity, and also practical evaluation and testing. In addition to training, policies and procedures need to be reinforced and controlled to ensure they are being followed at all times by seasoned operators and also by new operators who should be mentored by more senior drivers until competency levels have been achieved. Supervisors and Management play a critical role by monitoring drivers and enforcing the policies and procedures as set forth by the organization for the safety of workers.
According to the MOL, since June of 2008, the province’s team of more than 400 safety inspectors had exceeded 140,000 workplace visits, had issued more than 200,000 compliance orders (including more than 10,000 orders to stop dangerous work).
The Major Causes of Forklift Accidents:
- Operator Error
- Unauthorized Use of Equipment
- Faulty Equipment
- Warehouse Design
The #1 bad habit – failing to look behind and in both directions before moving the vehicle
At CBHM, we offer a number of lifting device training programs throughout Ontario such as Scarborough, Toronto, Mississauaga, Oakville, Hamiltion, etc. All forklift training and lifting device trainings are taught by industry experts with years of experience working in industry, who have also dealt with the many challenges you will encounter within the workplace. If you are looking for sound training, contact our office to discuss your requirements. We are “Your Safety Experts®”.