Forklift Trucks (FLT) are amongst some of the most hazardous vehicle types in the workplace, frequently found in warehouses, workshops and factories.
The dangers associated with use of lift trucks in the workplace are often underestimated. Employees working with or around them often become complacent because lift trucks are quiet, busy, in frequent use and part of the environment. However, incidents involving lift trucks are usually serious and often fatal. Lift trucks are very heavy, even when unloaded and there is very little protection for pedestrians.
The most common types of incidents involving forklift trucks are:
- Struck by a moving truck
- Struck by a load falling from the truck
- Overturn of the truck
- Fall from a height
- Trapped between the mast and overhead guard
Other less common incidents involve injuries due to fire or explosion due to replenishing the energy source or unsuitability of the lift truck for the environment.
Crush and foot injuries tend to be common injuries suffered by pedestrians. Whilst drivers tend to suffer injuries caused as a result of truck instability, which result in the truck tipping over and crushing the driver.
In the period 2001 – 2006, six people were killed in Ireland in incidents involving forklift trucks. Three of the fatalities involved loads falling off the forklift truck onto the person, two fatalities were due to cages falling off the forklift truck blades (tines) and the sixth fatality occurred when a person was crushed between the forklift truck and shelving.
See the Rider Operated Lift Truck Code of Practice for information on operator training and the Forklift Truck Operator Poster and Forklift Truck Operator Pre Use Check.
Fork Lift Truck Association (UK)