Can Forklift Accidents Be Preventable

Warehouse worker operates a forklift
A warehouse worker operates a forklift

Many related factors can cause accidents. Grouping them into specific categories may help to analyze incidents and, eventually, prevent them.

Pedestrian Collisions

To show an injured worker caused by a forklift
A worker was injured by a forklift

Every day collisions take place between forklifts and pedestrians walking around the warehouse. There are many things that can be done to prevent pedestrian accidents.

  • Separate the pedestrian and forklift traffic by creating designated walkways or travel ways.
  • Restrict people from entering areas where the forklift is operating. If not possible, develop safe work procedures to protect workers when they must enter areas where forklifts are operating.
  • Keep a safe distance from the whenever possible.
  • Pedestrians should always let the driver know they are in the area. Make eye contact with the driver to ensure your presence is known.
  • Make sure the area is well-lit and there are no obstructions.
  • Be cautious near blind corners, doorways, and narrow aisles. Sound the horn at intersections.
  • Use high-visibility clothing, where appropriate.
  • Limit travel speed.
  • Do not walk near or under raised forks.
  • Do not load your machine in a way that restricts the driver’s viewing area.
  • Avoid driving near areas where pedestrian traffic is high (e.g., lunch rooms, time clocks, entrances/exits).

Can A Warehouse Design Cause Accidents?

Yes, they can, there are many things that can contribute to an accident if the warehouse is not set up correctly. Here are a few things that can contribute to forklift accidents.

  • Narrow aisles.
  • Crowded, cluttered aisles.
  • Shelving has components that could hit or intrude into the operator area.
  • Obstructions at intersections and doors.
  • The volume of traffic in the work area
  • Other workplace conditions such as noise, or poor lighting.
  • Flooring with different types of surfaces.

There are many factors that can cause an accident 

OSHA has some accidents that they were investigating and has plenty of relevance to what we are talking about. You can check them all out here at take a look and see all the different types of accidents that can happen if you do not have the proper training.

Forklifts are dangerous
A worker being attended to after being injured
  • Traveling at excessive speed.
  • Riding with the load elevated.
  • Improper backing-up techniques.
  • Improper turning, braking, or accelerating.
  • Improper warnings to others nearby.
  • Riding or giving rides.
  • Parking improperly.
  • Improper blocking of wheels on semi-trailers or railway cars.
  • Horseplay; stunt driving; jerky, erratic driving.
  • Inadequate servicing.
Can Mechanical Problems With A Forklift Cause Accidents

Forklifts are like automobiles, they need to be properly maintained, if proper maintenance is not kept up, accidents can happen. Here are a few things that can contribute to accidents.

  • Malfunction of brakes.
  • Malfunction of steering.
  • Malfunction of the clutch, shift linkage, or transmission.
  • Malfunction of mast assembly.
  • Leaks in hydraulic systems or transmission.
  • Safety devices lacking, inadequate, or malfunctioning.
There are other factors that can cause accidents such as
  • Materials are improperly stacked or piled on the pallet in a way that results in an unstable load.
  • Pallets that are broken and damaged
  • Heavy loads
  • Loads that are too large and unstable or block vision.

So the answer too: Can Forklift Accidents Be Preventable? I believe they can be, continued education and training can help prevent these types of accidents in the workplace. No matter if you have been driving for 1 year or 20 years, continued training will lead to far fewer accidents in the workplace.

For more information about forklift safety and how accidents can be prevented, you can go to our website and check out our blog section at

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