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While commonly used in factories, workshops, warehouses and so on, forklift trucks remain some of the most hazardous vehicles used in the workplace. 
While commonly used in factories, workshops, warehouses and so on, forklift trucks remain some of the most hazardous vehicles used in the workplace, which is why it’s so essential that operators of this kind of machinery undertake forklift training courses before they start work and that they have refresher courses regularly to keep skills up to date
 
It’s easy to become complacent when using such equipment because they don’t make much noise and they’re used frequently, which is why the dangers associated with them are often underestimated. 
 
HSE figures show that the most common kind of fatal accidents to workers continue to be falls from height, being struck by a moving vehicle and being struck by a moving object, accounting for more than half of all fatal accidents in 2020/2021
 
Forklift trucks are very heavy, even when unloaded, which is why incidents involving such machinery are usually very serious. 
 
The most common types of incidents where these trucks are involved include being struck by a moving truck, being hit by something falling from the truck, the forklift overturning, falling from a height and being trapped between the mast and overhead guard. Pedestrians are also at risk, with foot and crush injuries the most common types of incident. 
 
There are various areas of bad practice that managers should be aware of in order to help reduce incident rates on site. Here are some of the more common ones to make note of. 
 
Poor observation 
Safe forklift operations require good observation skills and all the appropriate checks before trucks are used, as the driver is responsible for the safety of himself and others in the vicinity. Checks should always be completed before trucks are moved or the load raised or lowered. 
 
Not wearing seatbelts 
Guidance from the HSE states that restraining systems should be worn wherever they’ve been made available because they can reduce the consequences of an accident significantly. Making their use mandatory in company policies is advisable, reinforced through refresher training, monitoring and onsite signage. 
 
Speeding 
Safety can be compromised by operators rushing to save time when faced by pressures such as high demand and tight deadlines, which can increase the risks of accidents like collision and tipovers. Speed limits on site should be made clear and operators made aware of how important it is to stick to them at all times. 
 
Misuse of equipment 
Knowing how to use equipment properly is essential when it comes to preventing accidents and managers should look out for instances where machinery is being used incorrectly, such as forklifts being used to push loads, rather than lifting them. 
 
All correct equipment should be made accessible for the tasks in question and operators trained to understand how important it is to use it as intended. 
 
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