How to Drive Home Forklift Safety Training

Forklifts are an essential part of many industrial operations, but they are also involved in 10 percent of all serious industrial accidents every year. Here’s a way to make your forklift safety training unforgettable.

Yesterday’s Daily Advisor explored the many sources of potential accidents and injuries in the warehouse environment, as well as some tips for protecting your workers from them. Today we focus on one of the most dangerous warehouse hazards—powered industrial trucks, better known as forklifts.

Why single out forklifts? Because forklift-related accidents result in nearly 100 deaths and 20,000 serious injuries each year, and that amounts to 10 percent of all serious industrial accidents.

Forklift overturns are responsible for about 25 percent of forklift-related fatalities, followed by workers on foot struck by forklifts (20 percent), victims crushed by forklifts (16 percent), and falls from forklifts (9 percent).

Don’t just tell forklift operators what to do—show them with action footage on DVD in BLR’s Training Solutions Toolkit: Forklift Safety. Read More

These trucks are so dangerous that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits any workers under age 18 from operating forklifts or similar equipment in nonagricultural industries. And no one over 18 can operate them unless they have been properly trained and authorized.

In addition to forklift operator training and licensing, OSHA also requires periodic evaluations of operator performance. And refresher training is required if the operator is observed operating the truck in an unsafe manner, is involved in an accident or near miss, or is assigned a different type of truck.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that your forklift training program include the following elements:

  1. Make sure that workers do not operate a forklift unless they have been trained and licensed.
  2. Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program that includes worker training, operator licensing, and a timetable for reviewing and revising the program.
  3. Inform operators of sit-down type forklifts that they can be crushed by the overhead guard or another part of the truck after jumping from an overturning forklift.
  4. Train operators of stand-up type forklifts with rear-entry access to exit from the truck by stepping backward if a lateral tip over occurs.
  5. Ensure that operator restraint systems are being used on sit-down type forklifts. The risk of being crushed by the overhead guard or another rigid part of the forklift is greatly reduced if the driver remains inside the operator’s compartment. Because many forklifts are not equipped with a restraint system (and operator compliance is less than 100 percent on forklifts that are), operators of sit-down type forklifts should be instructed not to jump from the operator’s compartment but to stay inside by leaning in the opposite direction of the overturn.
  6. Train operators to handle asymmetrical loads when their work includes that activity.

BLR’s Training Solutions Toolkit: Forklift Safety on DVD comes to you satisfaction assured! Get the details.

How do you bring these somewhat dry recommendations to life and make them memorable for your employees? Most forklift training programs are hamstrung by the use of still photos and static bullet points. Forklifts are moving vehicles and, as any good trainer knows, you should never tell people when you could show them.

That’s why many think BLR’s Training Solutions Toolkit: Forklift Safety has a giant leg up on the competition. This DVD-based kit is really a minimotion picture, complete with professional actors and a realistic script. It trains on all the essential points and also includes all these supplementary materials:

  • 15 copies of an employee workbook and accompanying leader’s guide that confirms and extends the learning. Additional copies may be ordered at special low prices.
  • 3 posters. Hang them around your facility as a constant reminder of the training. (And note the pleased expression on any OSHA inspector who happens to see them.)
  • Trainer’s log. Creates a permanent record of whom you trained and when—another must-have if your facility is inspected.
    Customizable completion certificate. Just add each trainee’s name and other company specifics and print out.
  • A complete bonus PowerPoint® forklift training program. This 30-slide PowerPoint, with accompanying slide show notes and takeaway booklets, allows you an alternative way to train, and lets you customize your training with specific company policies and situations, and add your comments as you present the material.

Training Solutions Toolkit: Forklift Safety is available for a no-cost, no-risk trial at your workplace. We’ll be happy to arrange it for you.


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