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Forklift safety in the workplace

Working in the construction business is dangerous, and forklift accidents are the cause of many workers' compensation claims in New York. Being aware of risk factors and focusing on proper training and safety measures can help decrease the incidents of mishaps.

According to OSHA, almost 100,000 workers are injured or killed due to forklifts every year. Recklessness and a lack of training are main causes of these accidents, which is why companies are focusing on providing the right type of training to minimize these catastrophies. Required training programs include topics that focus on both workplace conditions and truck and lift operations. Workers who have been involved with an accident or have been cited for unsafe operations must also go through a retraining program.

According to Occupational Health and Safety, some of the important topics discussed around forklift operations include:

  • Load center - keeps the truck from tipping forward due to excess weight
  • Center of gravity - prevents truck from falling over when turning
  • Stability triangle - helps maintain stability

Forklift operators must also be trained for each piece of equipment they will be using, which may include things such as drum attachments and manlifts. Other site-specific training programs must cover a variety of possible conditions such as:

  • Hazardous locations
  • Surface conditions
  • Visibility factors
  • Slopes and ramps
  • Pedestrian traffic

Training consists of both practical driving and classroom-type instruction. Operators are tested after the initial training and then every three years. This ensures they still understand the safety issues and are capable of being responsible for operating a variety of powered industrial trucks.

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