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What are the top causes of forklift accidents?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

Forklifts are crucial pieces of equipment in some industries. Anyone who operates a forklift should have the proper training to increase the likelihood of doing so safely.

Around 1 million forklifts are in operation in this country, and there are around 1.5 million workers operating these machines. A forklift operator who’s being negligent puts themselves at risk, but they’re also a hazard to those who are working around them.

There are several things that can lead to forklift accidents. Understanding these can help the employer ensure they minimize them. It also provides operators with the information they need to remain safe.

Lack of training

Improper training causes approximately 20% to 25% of all injuries. Forklift operator training courses are one of the best ways that employers can ensure the people who use the forklifts know how to operate them safely. Certified forklift operators are ideal. Forklift guidelines provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration require specific training points for workers.

Improper inspections

Inspections should be performed at the start of any shift that’s going to require them to be used. The inspection must occur on every shift, even if the machine was used during the previous shift. Using a forklift checklist that requires the employee to sign off on each point is a good idea. Employees should always ensure this is done prior to getting onto the forklift.

Speeding and improper loading

The most common type of forklift incident that causes fatal injuries is when the forklift tips over and crushes someone. This accounts for 42% of fatal injuries. Speeding and improper load distribution are two common causes of this. Forklifts shouldn’t move faster than the average person walking. Loads should always be distributed evenly and be within the specifications for the specific forklift being used.

Other issues

Some other issues that are also present include:

  • Falling items from the forks
  • Accidental operation of the forklift
  • Driving with the forks lifted more than four inches off the ground
  • Falls from the forks

Workers who are injured in forklift accidents should ensure they get the medical care they need for their injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits include coverage for medical care related to these types of accidents. There are other benefits that workers should be able to count on. In some cases, fighting for those is necessary.


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