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Preventing Fork Lift Accidents

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

Fork lift safety

Around 1,300 UK employees are hospitalised each year with serious injuries following forklift accidents, and that number is rising. That's five UK workers, every working day, suffering debilitating and life-changing injuries, including complex fractures, dislocations, degloving and amputations.

Forklift truck accidents are the most common workplace accidents that involve vehicles and that can be put down to poor levels of training and lack of knowledge as to how to operate the vehicle itself, the most common issues being…

Instability - Overloading a forklift can make it unstable, and overloading is sometimes caused by forklift operators being unaware of the capacity of their vehicle. Forklift accidents due to capacity can also occur when lifting at height or using attachments.

Poorly maintained vehicles - Carrying out the essential pre-shift and regular maintenance checks are a vital element to ensure forklift safety and is something that an experienced operator would know to do at the beginning of each shift. If these checks are neglected, maybe for lack of knowledge, time or financial reasons, accidents are far more likely to occur.

Unfamiliarity - Every time an operator takes a forklift truck on a route through a workplace, he encounters obstacles. These could be narrow passages, other people or uneven floor levels. In an unfamiliar or complicated environment the operator should be encouraged and given time to familiarise themselves with a route on foot before undertaking it with a loaded forklift.

Danger to other staff - In a busy workplace there will be lots of people engaged in their own activities. If the forklift operator does not ensure that those around him understand his planned movements, he may be putting them at risk.

Damage to loads - Incorrectly secured forklift loads are inherently dangerous.

Not every forklift load is easy to secure and it can be tempting for operators to save time by leaving a load unsecured for a quick journey. A pallet is a flat item and, unless it is overloaded, does not present much risk. A load that is unusually tall, wide or shaped however can be prone to falling and may affect the balance and manoeuvrability of the forklift.

Speeding - Operators under pressure and unfamiliar with the tasks and equipment may be tempted to speed to meet the time restrictions of the project, this is a dangerous situation. Speed limits should be made clear to all operators, as moving too fast in a forklift truck can be dangerous.

As well as training and maintenance, one of the main preventative actions you can take to protect your staff is to ensure that there are segregated areas for pedestrians and forklifts.

Bardic Construction can provide many options on bollards and carriers to assist with segregation. We have trained staff familiar with installations at Industrial premises. Health and Safety is of paramount importance to us and our management team are all IOSH trained in 'Managing Safely'. We can review the works required at your facility, provide the required Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS), and you can rest assured that any work will be carried out by trained and competent staff. Get in touch to discuss your project on 01792 930544 or contact us by email:

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