Have you heard the one about the guy who was killed while filming a forklift safety video? A safety video! He was crushed after being thrown from the vehicle. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, there are about 26 aerial lift fatalities every year, most of which result from the operator being crushed by a vehicle tipping over.
While there are some jobs where laying down your life comes with the territory (soldier, sailor, police officer, fireman, etc.), aerial lift operator is not one of them. What can you do to make sure you are not one of the 85 Americans who draw their last breath at work? Since nearly half of all lift fatalities are caused by lift trucks tipping over, here are four things you can do to avoid a fatal crushing accident.
Remember the Stability Triangle
- This is formed by the three support points of the truck, which are located at the midpoint of the rear axis and the two front wheels. As long as the center of gravity remains within this triangle, your truck will not tip over. The center of gravity is the point in the truck where there is equal weight all around it. The COG can be moved out of the Stability Triangle if you carry too heavy a load, carry the load too high, try turning the lift truck while moving too fast, operate on a hill or incline, start or stop too fast, or operate the hydraulic system in a jerky manner.
Always wear your seat belt
- You do it in your car, you can do it in your lift truck. If you have trouble remembering, pretend you work for a courier service.
Stay inside if your truck tips over
- This sounds easy but it’s not. Your natural instinct is to jump and run. Over and over again, this has been shown to be the wrong thing to do. Remind yourself every day. Write it on the back of your hand if you have to.
Training, training, training
- Most, if not all, aerial lift fatalities could have been prevented by proper training. Get certified, stay up to date with your three-year renewals, and set a few minutes aside every day for training. Read a forklift safety newsletter. Visit a website. Read our blog.