Forklift tip overs can be a frightening experience. If you are a forklift operator, it is important to know what to do in the event of a tip over.
If the forklift does roll your first reaction may be to jump. Don’t! Unfortunately, this is most likely to result in serious crush injuries or death.
If you are in a situation where the forklift is tipping over, you should:
Understanding why a forklift can tip over sideways or forward can help you prevent a tip over.
Here are some of the most common causes of lateral instability, which can cause a forklift to tip sideways:
The challenge for the operator in these instances is that they may have little control once the tipping momentum has started. However, modern forklifts are equipped with some advanced features designed to detect tipping movement and stop the forklift in time.
An example of this is an overload protection device, which compares the weight of the load against the pre-set maximum carrying capacity for that lift truck. If it detects an increase in weight, it will actuate (apply) the brakes on that side of the lift truck before the operator can react – resulting in a safe, controlled stop.
When the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight is exceeded, a forward tip-over might occur, which can cause the lift to become unbalanced and dangerous. The forklift operator must ensure that the load is properly balanced and within the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit at all times.
Longitudinal tip-overs occur when the forklift center of gravity has shifted resulting in instability. Listed below are some common causes:
As for Sideways Tip Over, the forklift operator may not have time to initiate corrective action and avoid forklift tip overs. In which case the operator must remain in the forklift and brace for impact and hope to avoid serious injury.
Poor driving – this includes;
Bad road conditions – Uneven terrain and obstacles such as low-hanging branches or overhead wires can hinder a forklift’s stability and cause it to tip over.
Mechanical failures – this includes;
If you have any doubts about your ability to drive safely, have a co-worker take over for you.
When operating a forklift, wearing a seatbelt is the most important safety precaution that worker can take. Every day, seatbelts save lives and prevent injuries.
It’s easy to forget to put on your seatbelt, however doing so may save you from harm. Wearing a seatbelt greatly reduces the risk of injury or death in the event of an accident.
OSHA can and has imposed significant penalties on businesses where operators have not used seatbelts. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe working environment for its workers, and ensuring the use of appropriate safety equipment is one way to meet that obligation.
Drive defensively – your safety comes first!
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