How To Prevent Forklift Accidents
Forklifts may not seem overly dangerous or even difficult to operate. However, they are powerful vehicles move with a lot of momentum and are often carrying heavy loads. With or without a load, forklifts come with a variety of hazards in the work zone. Factors like speed, attachments, distractions, people, floor conditions, noise, visibility, and amongst other things can increase the risk of accidents and even fatalities. Luckily, the majority of forklift hazards can be avoided with preparedness and technology.
So what happens if an operator collides into a wall and escapes injury-free. Let’s say it costs $10,000 to fix the wall, $3,000 to fix the forklift, and $500 in damaged goods that need to be discarded. You have a total of $13,500 in indirect costs. However, what if 2 of his co-workers come to the rescue and spend 2-hours cleaning up the mess? If all 3 employees are cleaning instead of working, that’s 3 hours (@ $30/hr) not to mention the loss of productivity. That’s an additional $180 in wages bringing our total direct cost to $13,680. Furthermore, that doesn’t include the worker’s compensation payout, a potential lawsuit, an increase in insurance premium, or the lack of productivity your company is going to experience by not having a forklift in service for a week.
As you can see, the total direct and indirect costs of a small (injury-free) accident could be monumental and potentially catastrophic for a small, family-owned business.
So, how do we prevent or eliminate on-site accidents? Standard forklift training is first and most obvious. However, most forklift drivers have adequate training. It’s the technology add ons that most small to medium-sized companies are unaware of that can provide a variety of features and benefits for both the crew members and the company.
At Midwest Fleet and Safety, we have a variety of fleet tracking and safety products, geared for forklifts and that can prevent and in some cases eliminate these accidents from ever happening. Here are a few products we sell that you might want to consider.
- Forklift Safety Lights
- Blue Lights
- Red Lights
- Camera Systems
- 2-Camera Systems
- 4-Camera Systems
- Collision Awareness Systems
- Forklifts Collision Awareness Sensors
- Forklift Strobe Lights
Forklift safety lights
As the forklift or other vehicle travels, a bright blue light glides across the floor about 15 feet ahead of or behind it (depending on the mounting location). This lets pedestrians/co-workers know that a forklift is approaching. The safety spotlight consists of two LED lights that project a large spotlight onto the floor ahead of the direction of the forklift is traveling (forwards or backward). These safety lights are available in multiple voltages and are available in either Blue or Red.
This product category includes multiple solutions that offer a wide variety of visual warning styles from arrows, circles, straight lines, danger zones, and safety repeaters, all designed to increase the security of the work environment.
Why Safety Lights?
Accidents happen and unfortunately, all too often. 40% of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian. Furthermore, forklifts cause 20,000 serious accidents a year—and a fatality every three days. These machines are typically the most dangerous within most facilities.
Safety lights can be more effective than warning sounds, especially if you are wearing protective headphones. Additionally, these LED lights can more accurately indicate the precise location and direction of the oncoming forklift than a warning alarm, as sounds can be misleading as to where they are coming from.
Pedestrians may not see or hear industrial traffic around a corner, emerging from a rack aisle, around a corner, out of a trailer, or backing up while loading or unloading. Lights can be another and often well-needed safety tool for your company.
360° Camera Systems
Forklift camera systems allow operators to have full visibility of their surroundings. The wireless cameras can be mounted in various spots on the front and rear of the vehicle, or on the carriage so the driver can see where the forks are lining up with the pallet. As many as four cameras can be displayed on a single monitor. Both monitor and camera are hard-wired to the main power source so you’ll never have to worry about connectivity or recharging batteries.
Collision Awareness System
This piece of forklift technology is an absolute game-changer. This product is an Indoor/Outdoor unit that detects motion both on the outside and inside to alert individuals and forklift operators of potentially dangerous traffic on the other side of a door, overhead door, or opening with two large, red LED lights on the outside and one bright, red interior strobe on the inside. Made In the USA. The company makes several variations suited for budgets large to small. Best of all, installation is quick and inexpensive.
Forklift Strobe Lights
By far the easiest to install and the least expensive. A high-quality strobe will run you about $150 installed. The beauty of these products is that they turn on automatically when the asset is powered on. This particular product is constructed with a coated aluminum base, epoxy encapsulated & rubber gasket, polycarbonate lens. 12-48 VDC.
Visit our safety page to learn more about all of our safety products and services.