If you are driving a forklift, buckle up! Forklifts come equipped with seat belts, like other vehicles, but their purpose is a bit different. Forklift safety belts are designed to prevent drivers from jumping out of the truck if it tips over. Many injuries and fatalities occur when operators get crushed between the vehicle and the ground as they try to jump. Besides seat belts, truck operators can maximize their protection with additional safety accessories.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not lay out a specific requirement that forklifts must have seatbelts. However, OSHA does require that employers protect their workers from “serious and recognized hazards.” Mousetrapping - when a forklift flips over and crushes a worker underneath - is undoubtedly a serious and recognized hazard. OSHA mandates that forklifts made after 1992 come equipped with seat belts or other restraints. If employees do not use the seat belt or restraint, OSHA can cite the employer for failure to comply with regulations - resulting in a hefty penalty fee.
Forklift accidents happen. The most common type is flipping the truck, trapping and crushing the operator. In fact, over 50% of forklift accidents involve overturned trucks. Safety belts are proven to reduce injuries resulting from flips, and the safest spot to be is in the seat with the seat belt fastened.
However, there are other dangers inherent in forklift operation. Pedestrians are involved in more than one-third of forklift-related deaths. Some safety accessories include:
The number one prevention of accidents, though? Proper forklift training. Getting your forklift certification and maintaining up-to-date safety training is critical and may save your employees’ lives - or your own.
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