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Workplace Conditions That Can Lead to Forklift Accidents

Original article https://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com

By by Chris Kilbourne

Surface or ground conditions are an important part of safe powered industrial truck operation. In this article we focus on hazardous conditions in your workplace that can lead to forklift accidents.

Physical conditions in the workplace that can lead to forklift accidents include slippery conditions, obstructions and uneven surfaces, flooring and load limits, overhead clearances, and ramps and grades.

Slippery Conditions


  • Danger of skidding when traveling on oil, grease, water or other spills
  • Danger of tipover when traveling on ice, snow, mud, gravel and uneven areas

Safe Practices

  • Avoid the hazardous surface when feasible.
  • Spread absorbent material on slick areas that you cannot avoid.
  • Cross the slippery area slowly and cautiously.
  • Report the area to prevent others from slipping.
  • Post a sign or warning cones until the area can be cleaned.
  • Drive slowly!
  • Maintain contact with the ground by crossing uneven areas at an angle.
  • Clean up the oil or grease spill before proceeding (driving over an oil or grease spot will enlarge the hazardous area).

Obstructions and Uneven Surfaces


  • Danger of tipover when traveling over obstructions
  • Danger of tipover in holes and bumps

Safe Practices

  • Keep all aisles clear.
  • Watch out for overhead obstructions.
  • Avoid the obstruction or get off the forklift and remove the obstruction.
  • Never drive straight across speed bumps or railroad tracks. Cross slowly at a 45-degree angle.
  • Maintain steering control by keeping contact with the ground at all times.
  • If an area is cluttered, walk the route first to spot problems.

Flooring and Load Limits


  • Danger of collapsing floor

Safe Practices

  • Observe posted floor loading limits.
  • Inspect the condition of the floor. Look for holes or weakened flooring, loose objects or obstructions, protruding nails or boards.
  • Inform a supervisor immediately if flooring is defective.
  • Do not travel over a surface that cannot support the weight of the lift truck, its load, and its operator.
  • Do not enter a boxcar or semi-van without inspecting its floor and knowing its load limits.

Overhead Clearances


  • Danger of tipover
  • Damage to lights, stacks, doors, sprinklers, pipes
  • Damage to load

Safe Practices

  • Be aware of the height of fixtures.
  • Don’t travel with loads elevated.

Ramps and Grades


  • Danger of tipover
  • Damage to load

Safe Practices

  • Always look in the direction of travel.
  • Never turn on a ramp or incline. Turn prior to the ramp or incline to place forks in proper direction.
  • Keep a safe distance from the edge of a ramp.
  • Do not travel on ramps with slopes or other conditions that exceed the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • When traveling with a load, make sure the load points up the incline, regardless of the direction of travel.
  • When traveling without a load, make sure the load points down the grade, regardless of the direction of travel.