Seat belts save lives, which is why their usage is not an option. A forklift seat belt helps to prevent the most common human reaction during a tip-over … to jump! An operator’s panicked attempt to get away puts him at great risk for being crushed under a multi-ton machine.
Tip-over accidents claim, on average, the lives of 40 operators each year in the United States. They are also responsible for 25% of the overall recorded accidents.
A typical warehouse forklift is approximately 9,000 lbs. The weight of the steel can liquefy an arm or splinter a leg, leaving nothing for a surgeon to repair. We must educate forklift operators on how unforgiving this type of accident is when it occurs and train them to wear seat belts.
During a forklift tip-over, one must do everything possible to stay inside the confines of the overheard guard:
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel while bracing the upper body
- Push both feet into the floor of the forklift, bracing the lower body in the seat
- Lean away from the point of impact
Forklift Seat Belt Requirements
Seat belt usage isn’t directly addressed in OSHA CFR 1910.178 for powered industrial trucks, but when operators are observed not using the safety feature, an OSHA compliance officer may cite an employer based on the General Duty Clause. This clause states each employer shall furnish a state of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm. The average fine for each forklift citation is $1,500.
Ask yourself, if you walked into your warehouse to observe production, how many forklift operators are currently risking their lives by not wearing seat belts?
ProLift offers forklift safety training classes at several local customer support centers. Contact ProLift to schedule your training!