Here’s a good example of a situation where it pays to go slow and check things out first. For whatever reason, the guy driving the forklift forgets to check how much clearance he has when loading a pallet on a truck, and hilarity ensues. That’s what happens when you break one of the cardinal sins of forklift operation, but I’m sure glad he did.
Forklift Training Could Really Help
There are quite a few forklift training manuals out there, and they all advise slowing down when you have to raise your forks up. They also tell you to watch out for overhead obstructions like beams and cables. In this case, the roof of the truck is the overhead obstruction, and the driver here just didn’t take the time to check the top of the crates. It also looks like the load would have barely squeezed into the truck if he would have lowered his forks a little.
Warehouse Industry Hazards
The crates being loaded here look like they are just holding some fishy water, which wouldn’t be dangerous to come in contact with. When it comes to transporting hazardous materials, though, there are several regulations set forth by OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Here are just a few of the areas that OSHA has set regulations for:
- Toxic substances and chemical hazards
- Diesel exhaust
- Motor vehicle safety
- Walking/working surfaces
- Compressed gas
- Personal protective equipment
OSHA standards are all given fancy numbers—such as 1926.602, which covers material handling equipment in the construction industry. If you wanted or needed to become an expert on OSHA for some reason, you could dive into the US Department of Labor’s OSHA website. Be warned, though, that the material here is quite boring, as most regulations are.
Forklift Injuries Are No Laughing Matter
While in this case his mishap is quite funny because the forklift operator didn’t really get injured (just wet, stinky and bit humiliated), forklift accidents can cause serious injuries and even end in death. Here are a few of these eye-opening statistics according to what employers have reported to government inspectors:
- In any given year, there are roughly 100 forklift accidents in the US that result in death.
- 25% of those deaths are caused by rollover accidents
- There are about 34,000 forklift injuries a year that require a visit to the emergency room
In spite of these numbers, many forklift operators still tend to not follow regulations designed to keep them safe such as wearing seatbelts and slowing down when raising and lowering loads.
Other Types of Forklifts and Moving Machines
As you can see, the forklift below is just your basic motor rider truck. What you may not have known is that there are actually 6 classifications of forklifts.
- Electric Motor Rider: Consist of counterbalanced and 3-wheel trucks in both stand-up and sit-down varieties.
- Electric Narrow Aisle: Consists of order pickers, low-lift platforms, low-lift pallets, side loaders, turret trucks, high-lift straddlers, and reach-type outriggers.
- Electric Motor Hand and Hand Riders: Consist of low-lift walkies and platforms, tractors, reach-type outriggers, single-face pallets, and high-lift platform and counterbalanced.
- Internal Combustion Engine: Counterbalanced and solid/cushion tires
- Internal Combustion Engine: Counterbalanced and pneumatic tires
- Rough Terrain: Consists of variable reach-type, truck/trailer mounted, and vertical mast-type lifts.
Recommended Forklift Loading Practices
No matter what type of forklift you’re driving, there are recommended practices that you should follow, as mentioned earlier. If the driver would have followed these 5 tips, we wouldn’t get to have a nice laugh at his expense:
- Check that overhead clearance is adequate. This is covered under OSHA code 1910.178(m)(8).
- Lift the load up carefully about 10 cm over the lower stack (or truck floor in this case).
- Make sure the load clears and then tilt the mast back to rest the load against the load extension backrest.
- Be careful that the load doesn’t catch any obstructions (like a truck roof!)
- Return the lift lever to neutral slowly.
That sounds easy enough on paper if you are trained and skilled in driving a forklift, but accidents do happen.
What Caused It?
It’s easy to point fingers and say “that guy’s just stupid,” but we’ve all made embarrassing mistakes before. Just not always on camera for all to see. In this case, you wonder if the guy was just in a hurry, was over-confident in his forklift skills, or is maybe just inexperienced. What do you think, poor forklift operating skills or was he just rushing through the job?