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How dangerous is it to operate a forklift?

Once you have been operating heavy machinery at work for a while, it might be tempting to ignore safety regulations. What’s the worst that might happen if you drive a little faster, or take your helmet off for a little bit? If you drive a forklift, there are many ways that skipping on safety may cause serious injury.

Moving carelessly in a heavy machine can be extremely dangerous in a warehouse or on a construction site. You should know what types of injuries you are at risk for and how to avoid them.

The many ways you may hurt yourself

Every year, forklifts injure nearly 100,000 workers. The most common injuries are:

  • Being crushed when a forklift tips over, collides with an object or crashes into another vehicle
  • Forklifts running people over
  • Material being carried by a forklift falling onto people
  • Falling from a platform being carried by a forklift

Any of these might result in injury or even death for you and others. Some of these accidents can occur even when you park—not just when you are driving. You can reduce the risk by always following all safety precautions.

Never cut corners in forklift safety

There is never a good time to ignore your safety training. Every time you operate your forklift, you should:

  • Use the seatbelt if your machine has one
  • Drive more slowly on—or completely avoid—slippery floors
  • Never drive with the load elevated
  • Climb carefully when mounting or dismounting—never jump on or off
  • Make sure there isn’t anyone in front of you when driving forward
  • Never drive faster than you were trained to
  • Use the parking brake every time you dismount

Failing to follow these OSHA guidelines just once may potentially put you in the hospital. Always operate your forklift with extreme care to keep you and your coworkers safe on the job.

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