Each year we learn about operator injuries & fatalities involving forklift masts. What are the main causes of these forklift accidents?
During his 23 years of training at Toyota Forklift and ProLift, John Smith has heard several stories of forklift accidents involving the mast. Two causes stand out to him – an unstable load and poor visibility.
Why Operators Reach Through Forklift Masts
“Loads can become crooked during operation and reaching through the forklift mast to straighten a box puts an operator at immediate risk for injury,” states John.
In other cases, the operator’s visibility through the mast is blocked. John once spoke to an operator that couldn’t see well because of shrink wrap. “He stood out of his seat to pull away the shrink wrap. His leg hit the hydraulic leveler and it moved the mast. Thankfully, he wasn’t injured, but it definitely shook him up,” shares John.
Practice Safety Around Forklift Masts
John believes complacency is the culprit behind several forklift injuries. During his training classes, he advises operators to set forks down, turn off the forklift, dismount and walk around to adjust the load or clear debris. John says, “It seems faster and easier to reach through the forklift mast, but I stress to operators to avoid it. A forklift mast is similar to a slow, dull guillotine. You must put your safety first.”
Have you spotted unsafe forklift operation at your facility? Contact ProLift to schedule a forklift safety class. We can train any employee that operates your forklift or your on-site trainer.