Forklift driving may seem like a simple job, but are you aware of the dangers you are at risk of when operating a forklift? Forklifts can be one of the most dangerous pieces of workplace equipment and, under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, it is the law to ensure all staff members have completed full forklift training before operating one. Training is also required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure employees are safe at work. Although it is not a part of the law to ensure all staff receive refresher training, it is a requirement that employees should be monitored and assessed regularly to see whether refresher training would be beneficial to them. Also, if you employ new staff, they should still be trained with your forklifts even if they’ve been trained in a previous workplace.
Forklifts are one of the main causes of many workplace injuries and deaths each year. On average, forklifts cause approximately 85 deaths and just under 35,000 serious injuries per year. Around one in four accidents are due to a forklift overturning. These casualties are often down to a lack or absence of appropriate forklift training. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) predict that, in the United States alone, forklift errors, and therefore accidents, could be reduced by 70% if strict forklift training was carried out; this would likely be very similar in the UK too.
Why Are Forklifts So Dangerous?
There are a number of reasons why forklifts can cause accidents. Weight is a huge factor in forklift hazards. Firstly, they can often weigh more than 9,000 pounds; such a heavy weight can make it difficult to manoeuvre. In addition to this, forklifts have an uneven weight distribution which makes them tougher to control. As they are loaded from the front, they tend to be heavier in the rear to compensate; however, this can make them hard to control when driving with no load. Further to this, as they are loaded from the front, the driver’s view can be obstructed, leading to the forklifts overturning; if the driver cannot see if there is anything in the way of their route, they are likely to go into it or over it, causing the vehicle to overturn.
Although forklifts are not one of the most rapid vehicles, they can reach around 18 mph, which is fairly fast for a vehicle that is more often used inside. If a driver is going too fast, it can be very difficult to stop as forklifts only have front brakes; not only is this dangerous for the driver, but also any employees which may be around.
What Will Forklift Training Teach You?
To prevent the above dangers, all employees responsible for driving a forklift should receive quality forklift training before operating a vehicle. Different training courses are available for the different types of forklifts, however, in general all forklift training will cover similar aspects.
You will begin by learning about what you need to do before even setting foot on a forklift. You’ll be trained on how to make correct vehicle checks to ensure it is safe to use in your workplace; you’ll also be advised that your forklift should have regular formal inspections. Furthermore, you’ll be trained on how to effectively assess the environment around you. For example, judging how much space you have to manoeuvre the vehicle, seeing how many people are around or looking for obstructions that may get in the way of your route.
The next stage of your training will be learning how to correctly and safely manoeuvre the forklift. You will start by manoeuvring without anything loaded onto the vehicle. Once you are seen to be safe whilst manoeuvring the forklift with no load, you’ll then be taught how to drive whilst it is loaded; you’ll be trained with different weights and heights of loads.
Is your forklift training up to date? If you’re looking to become qualified, receive refresher training, or you believe your staff need training, get in touch with the team at Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd to talk to us about our forklift training. Fill out a contact form online or give us a call on 01582 763122 for more information.