There are always risks in managing heavy machinery, a forklift tip-over is one such danger, but with the proper measures it can be avoided
The last thing you want at your workplace is an employee severely injuring themselves in a machinery accident. When that accident involves a forklift, you could also be risking the goods you're responsible for.
The three most common types of workplace incidents involve a forklift. It might overturn, pin or crush a worker, or the worker might fall from it. The worst of these accidents can injure your employee, damage goods, as well as damaging the forklift!
Here are several tips to avoid a forklift tip-over and prevent other forklift accidents.
One of the most important steps to operating a forklift safely is receiving the appropriate training.
Whether you're an experienced operator looking to improve how you train others, or a new operator starting your forklift certification, getting the right training will be key to avoiding workplace incidents. If you're an employer or manager, it is required under the law that you provide adequate training and a safe environment for your employees.
Forklift operation training should include a hard-written test, a performance evaluation on the equipment, and an understanding of the OSHA standard regulations.
Avoid Too Heavy a Load
The main reason a forklift tip-over happens is that the center of gravity is compromised. This can happen when the load is too heavy for the forklift.
A forklift's capacity ranges between 3,000 up to more than 70,000 pounds. Its data plate should show the forklift's capacity; however, the rated capacity isn't necessarily its maximum limit.
The capacity takes into account a weight evenly balanced on the center of the fork. If half of the weight is hanging off, as would happen with a wide or long load, then the forklift operation could be compromised.
Stabilize the Weight
Along with avoiding too much weight, you should make sure whatever you load is balanced on the forks. Too much to either side can cause the forklift to overturn and cause significant injury to the driver.
There is also a chance that the load could fall off of the forks and either get damaged or run over by the forklift.
Along a similar vein, take care when driving on a slope, as the incline or decline can affect the weight's distribution as well. Tilting the mast backward can help give extra stability in these cases.
Use a Pallet
One of the worst things to do when managing heavy equipment is to not use the proper tools, such as a pallet for live loads. One of the most contributory reasons for forklift tip-over is a suspended load throwing the machine off balance.
Unlike a standard load on a pallet, a suspended load is more susceptible to movement. Unless the driver has experience handling them, it can cause an accident.
If you can place the load on a pallet, do so. If it has to be suspended, try to reduce how far you have to transport it to reduce the chance for human error.