Are forklift trucks dangerous?

Forklift trucks can lift and move significant weights/volumes of goods that could not be manually moved as quickly, efficiently, or safely, but let’s take a look at whether anyone can drive a forklift and whether they are dangerous.

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Who can drive a forklift?

It is a commonly held belief that a ‘licence’ is required to drive a forklift truck; however, this is not actually true. Instead of a licence, there is a certificate that can be obtained via an accredited training course. As with standard driving tests, these courses have both theoretical and practical elements that need to be mastered.

The courses can be undertaken at specialist centres; alternatively, there are providers that offer training on-site so that employees don’t have to travel.

Are forklift trucks dangerous?

If used by someone who isn’t trained or experienced, a forklift can be dangerous – as can any vehicle.

According to the British Safety Council, there are in excess of 1,300 serious accidents a year that involve forklifts.

The most common accidents involving forklifts are rollovers or tip-overs (where the forklift tips onto its side or upside down), objects falling off the forks, pedestrians/other workers being struck by the truck, and people getting crushed or pinned between the forklift and fixed objects or walls.

PASMA courses

In addition to forklifts, many people who work in construction will come across mobile towers. These enable people to work safely at height and access otherwise unreachable places/locations.

If you feel that you or your employees would benefit from PASMA training, there are a number of providers that offer courses covering this. Many of these firms, such as, have useful online resources.

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Mitigating the risks

A range of proactive measures can be taken to reduce the risks of forklift accidents. These include:

– Setting and enforcing on-site speed limits.
– Ensuring loads don’t exceed the maximum recommended weights.
– Using solid pneumatic tyres.
– Using appropriate attachments.
– Ensuring hard hats are worn.
– Installing convex mirrors at blind corners.
– Installing proximity sensors with audible/visual alerts.

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