OSHA guidelines reduce the likelihood of forklift accidents

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OSHA guidelines reduce the likelihood of forklift accidents

Federal law requires an employer in New York to provide every worker with an environment that is free of hazards. When it comes to powered industrial trucks, also known as forklifts, a major contributor to injuries and fatalities is the failure of companies to educate employees on all OSHA standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has very specific requirements to reduce or eliminate risk factors that are a part of operating this equipment.

Forklift hazards vary depending on the type of machine and workplace conditions. For example, a loading dock may have many ramps, grades or uneven surfaces, which put the machine at risk for tipping, losing the load or being driven off the edge. Overturns can result in a worker being crushed, and this is a leading cause of forklift accident fatality. Floor surfaces that have slick or slippery substances such as oil, water, ice and gravel are also dangerous. OSHA recommends always walking a route to check for hazards such as these to spot potential problems.

According to the National Safety Council, pedestrians are also in danger of being killed by a forklift. Well-marked walkways, intersections, dock areas and aisles can prevent accidents. Distracted driving, obstructed vision and a failure to use warning signals such as back-up alerts and horns put pedestrians at risk. Pedestrians have the responsibility to look both ways at intersections, stay on the right side when walking on aisles, give every machine plenty of clearance. There should be no passengers riding on powered equipment.

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